Even ten years on the modern jazz experimenters are still spanning genres
Since debuting a decade ago with their ‘Dim Lit’ album, Polar Bear have successfully retained a foot in both the modern jazz and experimental rock camps. Most bands attempting this hybrid get dragged one way or other, but in this case not even Polar Bear founder and grindcore enthusiast Seb Rochford drumming in an early Babyshambles line-up could tip the balance. This, their fifth full-length, is affecting and stylistically broad, but the dreamlike trumpet, blurry electronics and hard-rock drums form an evolving landscape, rather than showily leaping between styles. Nocturnal glowers like ‘Open See’ are as much Polar Bear’s essence as the outburst of ‘WW’. It’s far too long at 67 minutes, but that’s the price of free expression.
Record label: Leaf
Release date: 24 Mar, 2014