Polar Bear – Same As You
The oft-Mercury-nominated avant-jazz experimentalists Polar Bear return with a shimmeringly beautiful 55 minutes of measured breathing and humanity. Same As You feels the musical equivalent of someone stroking your hair and suggesting that they put on the kettle. Not to make it sound in any way homely – it’s far from that, it’s just deliciously reassuring. In a world of gobbling musical consumption, Polar Bear invite you to pull up a foot rest: even the transitions between tracks feel more like considered pauses for contemplation.
The album opens with a rich spoken-word passage from Asar Mikael emphasising a mantra of “life, love and light.” It might all feel a bit Woodstock but, honestly, just give in to it. The First Steps showcases bandleader extraordinaire Sebastian Rochford’s unbelievable drumming and slowly, almost imperceptibly, fills out from rain-machine chill to a luscious, sax filled party. The whole record feels propelled by an essence raw and leafy, and the near twenty minutes of Unrelenting Unconditional passes in a softened blur of minimal beats and twinkling rhythm. The only disturbance is the vocal lead on Don’t Let The Feeling Go – a brief interruption in an otherwise vitally warming, organic force. [Katie Hawthorne]