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A Magazine for Sheffield

Same As You

With the crackled tones of a preacher, the new Polar Bear record heaves into view. ‘Life, Love And Light’ is an ear pricking entrance, coming on like a behind-the-beat mirror of the attack of Primal Scream's ‘Loaded’. ‘We Feel The Echoes’ follows, blessed with lightness and submerged funkiness. It's rare for an album to open with such sideways cool and confidence. And confidence is the word – the musicians know they are good. Not in a vulgar, waving the knickers of your talent in the air way; more the joyously deep understanding of how sounds play off one another.

This recording draws on dance rhythms with genuine skill, most noticeably on ‘Don't Let The Feeling Go’, which allies a deadpan vocal set on repeat with funky drumming and a cut-up horn attack. ‘Of Hi Lands’ is maybe too busy at the beginning, but then smoothes out into ambience, chased along by buzzes and distant alarms. Just when you're reaching for the mouse to move the album along, team leader Seb Rochford comes in with his drums – astonishingly powerful even when quiet, unobtrusive but always at the centre – and when the sax slurs briefly away from the key, you know you'll play this tune again.

‘Unrelenting Unconditional’, which closes Same As You, is long and languid. It unfurls itself at its own pace, with some assured horn work. Somewhere in the middle, sax and drums come together, each pulling and picking at the other. Those two minutes embody this cool, confident and excellent record.