Leftfield jazz quintet goes back to basics, and the results are stunning
Seb Roachford has done it again. After the electronica fuelled opus that was 2014’s In Each and Every One, Roachford has gone back to basics. The approach has paid off as Same as You is an airier and lighter affair. This doesn’t mean it isn’t as rich and musically complex as Polar Bear’s previous work, but it is an easier listen. The tracks contain elements of space, and the listener is give room to move around in them, in comparison to some of their earlier claustrophobic work.
While Life Love and Light opens the album, a predominantly vocal track that speaks of Life, Love and Light being crucial to life, Same as You doesn’t really get going until We Feel the Echoes. This is classic Polar Bear, but instead of dense electronica, it slowly builds texture and tensions through Roachford’s percussive rhythms and short poignant saxophone riffs and runs. First Steps is the hardest hitting track on the album. It juxtaposes tribal rhythms with simple saxophone pieces. At times it is reminiscent of Sun Ra at his most lyrical and playful.
Polar Bear aren’t as well known for their lyrics as their music, but Don’t Let the Feeling Go has a catchy chorus, that almost is impossible not to sing along with. Following Life Love and Light message of hope and love, it’s one of the albums highlights. The album closed with the twenty minute Unrelenting Unconditional. The title, and length, tells you everything you need to know about it. It’s the perfect close to this remarkable album.