I absolutely love The 2 Bears, they are one of my favourite names in music today.
The Bears are Joe Goddard, of Hot Chip, and Raf (Raf Daddy) Rundell. It was originally supposed to be The 3 Bears, but Joe Mount (of Metronomy) never joined. The pair met through the party scene while DJing together, which is characteristic of the duo, who essentially seek the perfect party track through their efforts. Rundell started out singing over the top of Goddard’s beats, expecting to be relieved of vocal duties down the line. However his unique voice became one of the defining features of the group, so he stuck at it, a decision I am very fond of. His voice is impossible to ignore, and is a significant factor in making the duo what it is today. The Bears, almost immediately after first entering the studio, received an incredible amount of respect and attention from DJ’s, musicians and Radio Presenters across the board, including the likes of Pete Tong and Annie Mac, right through to Elton John and Paul McCartney. This describes them better than any words can, the fact that their style is so thoroughly encompassing of such a ridiculous range of influences creates such a unique sound, one which people from almost all genres can relate to. It’s house music, but it’s more than that. It goes beyond one simple classification.
It’s been two years since 2012’s Be Strong, and I am more than ready to hear some new material.
Even the very first track on the album displays the quality the duo possesses. Get Out almost sets the scene for the album in general. It opens with the voice of Raf Daddy, the flawless, relaxing, iconic voice. This is over the top of Goddard’s similarly infallible production. All of a sudden, halfway through the track, it changes completely. It’s like a bomb is dropped on it, and the song becomes much harder, turning into the kind of song which would set a club on fire. It’s like a statement, a perfect start to the album.
This is immediately followed by another massive highlight in the form of Angel (Touch Me). It is essentially an incredible piece of music, I can’t fault it. That’s all there is really to say, it’s amazing. In contrast (in terms of genre) we have Money Man which follows immediately after. This is a reggae track, and like many great reggae songs it has a strong political message about corruption and the leaders in our society and how ‘the Money Man wants to break your back’. It goes one step deeper on Stylo G’s verse, with driving bass and lyrics meant to inspire action and revolution. The contrast even within the track, let alone between tracks, is impressive, showing that The Bears can essentially turn their hands to any genre and succeed. It also brings to the fore the heavy Jamaican influence upon both artists’ love of music.
Probably my favourite track on the album comes next, in the form of Not This Time. It is exactly the kind of track someone can simply lose them self to, a song to become completely absorbed in. It has piano, heavy bass guitar and yet more sensational vocals from Raf Daddy. This song in itself can show exactly why I’m such a fan of this group. The theme of the track, one of self empowerment, is very similar to the next track, See You. Not This Time feels like someone breaking out of a relationship in which they are feeling mistreated, breaking out of the cycle, and See You is about not letting someone hold you down, for example with lyrics like ‘if someone tries to slow you down, just say see you.’ Lyricism is a crucial part of The Bears’ sound, something which is perhaps given less attention than it deserves.
For Mary Mary and Run Run Run the album slows down significantly and becomes quite intense and deep, less like a party anthem record. However half way through Run Run Run, in much the same way as the first track on the album, the song completely changes. It becomes almost a tribal-trance style song. It has a very deep feeling and leads me to picture a dark room with flashing lights, and people becoming entirely immersed within the music. I personally prefer the second half of the track to the first.
The anthems return with My Queen. The style is extremely similar, at least in terms of vocals, to Bear Hug. It is yet another track which totally consumes the attention of the listener, and yet another perfect song from this album.
To close out the album, we have the 13 minute title track. It opens with a very cheerful feeling, and a vast, expansive setting. I picture the desert at dusk in this moment, I can’t explain why. It is thoroughly relaxing in this moment and does definitely transport the listener, it is impossible not to become fully invested in the mood of this song. The song stops about halfway through, for a while, then like several other tracks on the album transforms into something quite different. It is still slow and enthralling, with Raf Daddy’s voice becoming almost a lullaby. The production is also quite simplistic, making the track yet more calming. Such a soothing way to finish.
It is essentially track after track of incredible music. At the start of the album every single song is an anthem in its own right. There is so much to say about this album, but at the same time it is impossible really to put into words how good I think it is. This is another genuine classic from two of the most talented people in music.