Earlier this month, I wrote about Leslie Bear, a New Brunswick, NJ-born and-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who writes, records and performs as Long Beard. With the release of her full-length debut, 2015’s Sleepwalker, Bear received national attention for crafting shimmering and thoughtful dream pop, and for an album that thematically explored what constitutes home — particularly, how it can extend beyond the physical quality of its roof and four walls, to the comfort and familiarity of the people in it. And how all of that can influence one’s sense of self, stability and security.
Four years have passed sine the release of Bear’s Long Beard debut. And that period marked a significant, transitional time for her: a career move lead her to return to her hometown, long after most of her friends and peers have moved away. And as a result, the feelings of stasis, nostalgia and confusion have deeply influenced the material on her forthcoming Craig Hendrix-produced sophomore album Means to Me. Slated for a September 13, 2019 release through Double Double Whammy Records, the album reportedly will mark both a major bit of artistic growth and maturation in her overall sound, aesthetic and approach with the material nodding at jangle pop, dream pop and shoegaze paired with her ethereal vocals.
“Sweetheart,” Means to Me’s lead single, was a shimmering bit of 4AD-era jangle pop paired with a soaring hook, delivered with a growing self-assuredness — but the song is underpinned by a wistful and bittersweet nostalgia over a lost relationship that lingers in your present. The album’s latest single, album title track “Means to Me” is a slow-burning and spectral track that’s one part Mazzy Star, one part 4AD-era jangle pop as the song is centered around shimmering guitars, a soaring hook and Bear’s achingly tender, ethereal vocals. And much like its immediate predecessor, the track continues a run of material that evokes the lingering ghosts of nostalgia and regret.