Release Date: Apr 30, 2013
Record label: Planet Mu
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock
Irish duo Solar Bears came to prominence with their 2010 debut album She Was Coloured In, a collection of highly listenable synth-centred electronic pieces. That their follow up is arriving three years later shows the attention to detail and deliberation that has been invested in its creation. It is the sound of an evolving band keen to grow their sound and incorporate new ideas.
Solar Bears dig up cultural artifacts from bygone decades and put them to fresh use as components in a musical style that sounds naggingly familiar without ever quite lapsing into pastiche. Of course, this isn’t a hugely original strategy these days. But Solar Bears’ music draws on a particularly thick soup of contrasting half- and mis-remembered pasts: Boards of Canada’s windswept pastorales alongside the otherworldly film scores of John Carpenter and Vangelis; the glossy sensuousness of Air next to Giorgio Moroder’s synth-disco vistas.
Psychedelic Irish duo Solar Bears' second LP, Supermigration, more or less continues their foray into trippy sci fi-inspired soundscapes, but a bit more carefully. It's more complete than the band's previous effort, She Was Coloured In, with more prog rock influence fusing with their electronic-meets-acoustic sound. The songs are tighter, but still flesh out a spectrum of scenes that are capable of carrying the imagination to some interstellar retreat.
Solar BearsSupermigration[Planet Mu; 2013]By Ray Finlayson; August 13, 2013Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetNamed after the Andrei Tarkovsky film Solaris, Ireland’s Solar bears have always been aiming for the stars. On their 2010 debut album, She Was Coloured In, the duo did channel some of that astrological hope, but for the most part they sounded like they were tinkering away in their own bedrooms, gazing at the stars from their windows as they weaved their nostalgic electronica. Three years later, they finally sound like they’re issuing the countdown and are ready to traverse the beautiful and dark avenues of space.
Solar Bears’ latest covers a wide pastiche of instrumental styles, with opener “Stasis” coming across like the best echoes of Delerium, Enigma, Robert Miles, and even a faint touch of Enya thrown in a blender. It’s all discordant, echo-ambience until “Cosmic Runner” gets going. Their penchant for basic hip hop beats behind the music continues here – and it serves as an evocative, fun start to the disc.
Anyone not convinced that the latest wave of electronic music from the Anglo-Celtic Isles lacks a definitive sound needs to hear Solar Bears. As Scotland's Rustie and Hudson Mohawke have helped revive UK big beat, the genre's rubbery rhythms and Bonzo drum-style have even found themselves imbedded within Solar Bears' brand of lofty, introspective psychedelia. On Supermigration, their sophomore release, the duo filter minor-key piano and soft-wave keyboards through a larger, more dynamic studio sound, leaving the listener with a dozen high-concept, low-end psych-runoffs.
Released on acclaimed electronic label Planet Mu, the ambient pop on Solar Bears’ follow-up to their 2011 debut ‘She Was Coloured In’ offers psychedelic warmth reminiscent of that mysterious time called summer. Anyone remember that? Get into ‘Supermigration’ and you will soon. The Irish duo are joined by vocalists Sarah P and Beth Hirsch on a couple of tracks, but the instrumentals are the best work here, as they sound more focused and less like ’90s duo Zero 7.