The 2 Bears are a London-based musical duo Joe Goddard (Hot Chip) and Raf Rundell (Raf Daddy).
At a first glance you could be forgiven for thinking them a mere novelty, donning bear costumes for live shows and videos. On closer inspection the duo’s debut LP, Be Strong is fantastic. It has quintessentially British sound, if that makes sense. It is a scatter shot across the entire scope of electronic music and really feels as though you are foraging through a fine record collection. As a result it feels a little loose and lacking cohesion at times, if there were one criticism this would be it.
Nonetheless their playful debut will get you moving and paste a smile across your face with it’s cheery, cheeky and joyous amalgam of sounds. From the funky opener ‘The Birds & The Bees’, soft after hours jams of ‘Time In Mind’ and ‘Warm & Easy’ to the club contrived ‘Work’ or ‘Take A Look Around’ and fun ‘Bear Hug’. The vocals or the juxtaposition between them must be credited too; Goddard sweet and cheerful and Rundell dry and gruff, and, of course the sleek transition between the two.
There are real world musings beyond the world of the club too, most notably ‘Work’ acknowledges tough times are biting but just to keep working towards your goals. ‘Get Together’ advocates, well, getting together to defend what we value most.
Be Strong is a massive injection of positivity amidst a time of dreariness and uncertainty. It is a worthy ode to the past two decades of dance music, from the ’90s piano loops of ‘Work’ to ‘Time In Mind’ and ‘Get Together’s’ dancehall rhythm. It is a fine soundtrack to any weekend and most importantly, a bloody excellent dance record.
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