I think of Polar Bear Club as a hardcore band yet this record really isn’t that heavy at all. It feels like a Small Brown Bike record but with far superior production and a slight tinge of The Get Up kids and a little bit of folky influence in there. The album’s dramatically strong impetus comes mainly from the fact that, although there are fairly fast and upbeat tracks, a lot of the songs are actually quite slow.
This breaks up our usual perception of hardcore as being fast-paced and makes Polar Bear Club an altogether more interesting prospect than your average band in their genre. ‘Boxes‘ is the perfect example of how this band take a simple formula, add some slightly-out-of-the-ordinary riffs around the main melody without over-complicating everything and come up trumps with a classic-sounding song.
With album number two, Polar Bear Club have truly perfected the art of balancing simplicity and originality, crafting a collection of accomplished tracks full of hooks, interesting nuances, and that rough yet melodic heart-wrenching vocal their small but growing fanbase has come to know and love. Variation is key here and where a lot of bands’ songs often end up blending into one, Polar Bear Club clearly define every offering with a specific theme and sound that doesn’t stray from their aesthetic but adds something new to their spectrum of sounds. ‘Drifting Thing‘ in particular shows a softer side to the band and a wildly different side to their instruments from that which they normally use with lilting vocals and palm-muted guitars.
Above all, ‘Chasing Hamburg‘ is an album that is undoubtedly heartfelt, one that you can identify with and one that is begging for a singalong or 20.