Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
The way that Himalayan Bear's Ryan Beattie plays his guitar and the way that the Canadian man sings makes it feel like we're looking out on a bleeding sunrise, coming up over the far end of nowhere. There's little that's at-ease in either of them, but most especially in the way that he sings, which feels untamed and majestic. It feels like we're all standing upon a cliff looking down on some white, virgin sands of an untainted island, where it just so happens that the only living inhabitants are wild horses.
They can be seen galloping in amorphous clusters, zigging and zagging this way and that way - as their wills stutter, splashing into the ocean's waters as it kisses the beach and turns the white sand a shadowy brown, until the moon forces it to retreat back out to where it came from. Beattie's music is exceptional in its untethered adventurousness. It goes where it wants and it strings you along in undulating ways, letting you float in the thoughts that are sometimes nervous and others touching and sweet.
They are songs that behave like the muscles of a horse. With the right approach and a sure reach, you can stroke the flanks of a horse, pat its side and upper leg and feel the thick and twitchy, fibrous muscle beneath that high. It's slightly scared, but accepting of the attention and love. Make one slightly sudden step or sound and those muscles send of the signal to buck and sprint away as fast as possible, no longer trusting or sure. The horse will eye you with those huge, saucer-like orbs and it will take it hours to reconsider. It will get back over to you, come to taste the food and peppermints you're offering, but you're going to have to earn it.