FROM ACROSS THE POND: The 2 Bears
The 2 Bears are a London-based collaboration between Hot Chip‘s Joe Goddard and Raf Rundell, formed in 2009, who create upbeat house and dance music with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. With catchy vocal harmonies and synthy hooks that will have you foot-tapping and booty-shaking, they’re well worth adding to that pre-drinking playlist to get the energy up before hitting the town.
Their earlier work on EPs Follow the Bears and Bear Hug displays a more bass-heavy sound with trance and rave influences, whereas Be Strong is rich in pop sensibilities. Unusually, guitar features on country-inspired “Time In Mind,” with Raf’s cockney croon channeling Johnny Cash melodically. While unashamedly an album paying homage to disco-electro-dance music, there is nonetheless versatility amongst the 12 tunes on Be Strong. With a melancholy organ refrain, “Church” is a down-beat closer, while “Bear Hug” is frivolous dub-step about love and cuddles (accompanied by a fittingly camp and cheesy video clip).
The must-listen track of The 2 Bears is “Work,” with a thumping bass backbone and housey piano underpinning a sing-along chorus about working together “for each other, for our future.”