Evoking envy from the hearts of bald men everywhere, Sebastian Rochford is back with his much loved brainchild – although, how it managed to scramble from his mind through a maze of follicles and surface that forest is still beyond me – Polar Bear.
After being nominated for a Mercury Award with the finest contemporary jazz composition to grace my speakers, ‘Held On The Tips Of Fingers‘, I’ve been eager to hear some new tunes from this eclectic bunch. While the online freebies were satisfying – the demo of ‘Isolation‘ sounding like the meandering thoughts of a man trapped in the bottom of a deep well, descending oh-so slowly into an irreversible insanity – they only further stoked my desire for a new full length.
This eponymous, even on the first listen, is as moreish and stimulating as their first two efforts: resulting in a superb collection of meddled melodies, both uplifting and spirit crushing – the perfect soundtrack for an avant-garden party. Mmm… smoky. Someone pass the absinthe, I’m ready to lose my mind.
Polar Bear don’t so much as fiddle with genre boundaries, as play with them like eager and excited school children until they snap. Then looking at the broken pieces with such admiration, they fuse them together into something fresh and exciting. Take tomlovesalicelovestom as a perfect example; heart-warming bass grooves set loose into a labyrinthine forest of electronic ramblings planted by Leafcutter John with Pete and Mark guiding it along with teasing sax. Oh my.