Brown Bear – Dead or Alive

Scottish seaside town Largs spat out something incredible this summer – Brown Bear.

A four-piece led by Matt Hickman on vocals came to my attention at this year’s T in the Park festival. I popped down to the T-Break Stage to catch a few of their zesty tunes. Among these was a song that stuck in my head. ‘Dead or Alive’

Matt from Brown Bear
Matt from Brown Bear

‘Dead or Alive’ is an upbeat song, kicking in with a driving guitar lick, forming an almost “Down Under” theme from the start. This song wouldn’t go a miss complimenting a few beers down a sunlight beach party. A tempo that would lift anyone from their seat, it’s safe to say this is what Brown Bear were looking to achieve in writing this little number. Matt Hickman’s vocal style could be compared to someone like Paolo Nutini, with a distinctive northern soul twang, noticeable only in the harmonics of the chorus.

Drummer Sam Waller keeps the song driving from start to finish and adds an element of genius to the proceeding fills throughout. Acoustic guitar floods the eardrums from the talented Chris Kelly, keeping a catchy melody at the peak of this musical mountain of a song. Alongside the drums is Ruairidh MacDougall on bass. A key component to the rudimental structure of this song, he brings along his own style akin to the bass from the early days of The Arctic Monkeys.

All in all, a top tune and a band that knows what they are looking to achieve.

You can catch them at a gig on their current European tour if you are lucky. A highly recommended band with an energy to support.


John Wight

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