British Quartet China Bears Release Debut Album Participation Trophy

Rising indie four-piece China Bears have released their highly anticipated debut album Participation Trophy. Speaking on the release, lead singer Ivan Proctor said: “Participation Trophy, at its core, is an album about hope, loss, grief, friendships, relationships and overcoming feelings of inadequacy. The album is a nod to the journey China Bears have taken from inception up until now, four friends growing up together from late teens into adolescence. It’s very much about the idea of being part of something, with all the good and bad. Life isn’t always a clear upwards trajectory, and as we’ve grown we’re learning that what’s important is turning up, being there for yourself and others, and not to necessarily be the best, but to do your best.”

China Bears

China Bears (Rob Blackham/Blackham Images)
China Bears (Rob Blackham/Blackham Images)

The recording process for Participation Trophy saw the quartet travel to Edinburgh, Scotland, to record 13 songs in 2 weeks with Rod Jones of Idlewild at Post Electric Studios in the autumnal sunshine of Leith. It was the first time the band had worked with a producer. Contrary to the writing process, which at times was a painful endeavour when trying to bring out their most authentic selves, the recording process with Rod was nothing but smooth and enjoyable. Listen to the new LP here.

Originally formed in Somerset by twin brothers Ivan (vocals, guitar) and Frazer Proctor (lead guitar), the China Bears line up was completed after meeting James Zealey (bass) and Dean McCaw (drums) at university in Guildford If melodic diligence counts for anything, China Bears are masters of their arty leftfield craft. Through a series of terrific tours and exquisitely-balanced EP releases I’ve Never Met Anyone Like YouStatue Still and All That Distance, they have displayed an innate ability to blend the alt.rock rush with the acoustic hush.

Rousing and romantic, debut album Participation Trophy feels cinematic in its grandeur, whilst also feeling incredibly personal in its storytelling. From the driving I Will Break My Own Heart, the twinkling Beck And Call, the electric force of Total Communication Breakdown to the blossoming Gracie, there is a song to accompany everyone’s own life soundtrack.

Whether it’s ripping apart the stage with their misery-anthemic indie or captivating the room to pin drop silence singing their songs shoulder to shoulder in the middle of the crowd, China Bears have gained recognition for their emotive high energy and intimate performances which have drawn knowing comparisons to The National, Death Cab For Cutie and Frightened Rabbit.

China Bears will be touring the UK this October, playing nine headline shows across the country. The tour will see them play venues in Sheffield, Newcastle, Glasgow, Manchester, Norwich, Nottingham, Birmingham, London and Bristol. Tickets here. Full list of dates below:

Upcoming UK tour dates:

OCTOBER
1st – Sidney & Matilda, Sheffield
2nd – Head of Steam, Newcastle
3rd – Broadcast, Glasgow
4th – Off The Square, Manchester
5th – Voodoo Daddy’s, Norwich
8th – Bodega, Nottingham
9th – Hare & Hounds 2, Birmingham
10th – Oslo, London
11th – The Exchange, Bristol

Nothing But Thieves Bring The Rock ‘N’ Roll To A Pop-Heavy Glastonbury 2024

Dawes (Jon Chu)

Dawes Celebrate New Era With New Album And Lead Single House Parties

Acclaimed California rock band Dawes have shared their new single, House Parties alongside an official music video. Co-produced by brothers Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith alongside longtime friend Mike Viola, House Parties marks the first single from Dawes’ upcoming ninth studio album, Oh Brother, arriving on 11th October via Dead Ringers, the band’s own imprint.

Keane @ Shepherd's Bush Empire as part of BRITs Week For War Child 2024 (Patrick Gunning)

BRITs Week 24 For War Child Announces 2024 Money Raised

BRITs Week 24 for War Child has announced details of the money raised from this year’s series. An incredible £430,000...
Pip Millett @ Summer Series at Somerset House 2024 (Sophie Harbinson)

Pip Millett Is Enough For You At Summer Series At Somerset House 2024

Spirits failed to be dampened when the grey clouds that had gathered over the central London venue finally opened up, minutes before Pip Millett took to the stage. For close to two decades, the Summer Series At Somerset House each year has hosted a wonderful diverse array of artists; both established and up-and-coming, across all genres in a week-long celebration of live music and culture.

Stevie Nicks (Jennifer McCord)

Gold Dust Women: Stellar All-Female Line-Up For Stevie Nicks At BST Hyde Park 2024

Under the sprawling summer canopy of London's BST Hyde Park, thousands of fans, from lifelong devotees to curious...
Michael Kiwanuka @ Glastonbury Festival 2024 (Kalpesh Patel)

Michael Kiwanuka Is Home Again At Glastonbury 2024

Michael Kiwanuka struck a chord with the Saturday night Glastonbury Festival audience. At the halfway point of the...
Glastonbury Festival 2024 (Kalpesh Patel)

A Child’s Experience At Glastonbury Festival 2024

Only 7 years old, but already our son considers himself a Glastonbury Festival veteran! It’s his 5th visit to the...
Donovan Woods (Brittany Farhat)

Donovan Woods Releases Seventh Album Things Were Never Good If They’re Not Good Now

Acclaimed songwriter Donovan Woods has released his seventh studio album, Things Were Never Good If They’re Not Good...
ARCO (Jacob Barri)

AR/CO Drop Debut EP Origin Stories

The AR/CO creative universe is a fantastical vision of a futuristic desert rave, their pulsating, psychedelic...

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share Thing