Artist Feature: Solar Bears

I know the wipster (‘wittily hipster’…yeah its a phrase I just coined, what of it?) nature of Solar Bears name (like ‘polar’ bears only opposite, geddit?), has a staunch stench of novelty about it, maybe a hint of prog rock wankery, but you can stop hovering over that ‘x’ in the top right, because SB are anything but. Solar Bears are equal parts the thinking mans electro, (James Blake, Joy Orbison, Mount Kimbie), and producers of minimalist bedroom bangers (Hot Chip, Metronomy) flitting between well produced, snare thump, kraut rock funk, that New Young Pony Club think they sound like, and the acoustic guitar lead atmospherics of Mount Kimbie. Myspace opener ‘Trans Waterfall’ is probably the best example of an epitomisation of SB’s sound. The track slinks into existence, ushered by ghostly synths, a whining wash of noise and screeches, and the precision funk bass of NYPC, before effortlessly abandoning the sound for the sort of thing James Murphy used to make, before the realisation of his mid life crisis. The biggest surprise of all comes around the three minute mark, the song changes entirely to the noise of a glastonbury campsite circa 1960, panpipes and folk guitar included. Other tracks hint at much dancier influences, ‘Children Of The Times’, is Daft Punk’s ‘Human After All’ had they not sacrificed their jive, for harsh robo synthery. Similarly ‘The Quiet Planet’ is a stone cold charicature, of 80’s Neu Kraut electro, abandoning the guitar, but still in keeping with the ghostly atmospherics, particularly once again, at the end of the song. ‘Kill On’ is where SB shine again, mixing harsh chainsaw synths, clattering drums and guitar feedback, to meld a sound that should be pompously overblown, but isn’t, showing good aesthetic and technique.

Given that their Myspace page dates the bands (internet) existence as 23/04/2009, the Irish duo’s output thus far is promising. Given time to hone their sound, Solar Bears could be ones to watch.


Joe Thresh