The 2 Bears come out of hibernation to release debut album 'Be Strong'. Robyn Burrow has a listen.
The current lull in Hop Chip’s activity has given singer and synth man Joe Goddard the chance to hook up with London DJ Raf Rundell for side project, the 2 Bears. The duo started recording together in 2009 and now, on debut ‘Be Strong’, the culmination of two musical minds makes for an interesting listen.
They kick off with ‘The Birds And The Bees’, a toe tapping synth melody, layered with glockenspiel and trumpets until it builds into an upbeat, trippy crescendo. Devoid of lyrics, it’s a brave start that pays off. Title track ‘Be Strong’, with its thumping beat and happy house vibe, lifts further but the first signs of monotony set in with Rundell’s musical roll call.
‘Bear Hug’ is different, a brilliant example of the pair complementing each other: Rundell’s low talk-singing works well with Goddard’s distinctive soft vocals. Lyrically it references their moniker, tongue firmly in cheek: “It’s lonely in the wood but I’m here in the hood, let’s have a bear hug”. Here is an outfit that clearly don’t take themselves too seriously, which is handy for this home clubbing LP.
There are moments of greatness, like the slow-paced, lush 80s gem ‘Warm And Easy’, and the band almost reach pop perfection with the harmonies, lap steel and great hook of ‘Time In Mind’ but sadly many songs fall just short.
Diversity is the main theme, and they’ve attempted something for everyone. There are definite flashes of Hot Chip and there is a simplistic brilliance to the lyrics which nod towards philosophy, religion and the absorbance of music through the media, but on too many occasions it suffers from repetition. Maybe in a different situation and under a different influence, the result would be closer to the one the duo are trying to achieve, but sober and outside the club environment, ‘Be Strong’ is more listenable than groundbreaking.
‘Be Strong’ is out on 30 January on Southern Fried Records.
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