Hot Chip, in all their electrofied glory, are just plain awesome, and that’s all there is to it. Thankfully the members of this UK group have launched into other side projects to spread their talent, and this includes The 2 Bears, a wonderful duo of Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard and DJ/producer Raf Rundell. Somehow I missed their 2012 debut Be Strong (check out the hilarious “Bear Hug” from that one, as soon as you can), but Pitchfork currently happens to be streaming their upcoming album, The Night Is Young, before it is released on Fatboy Slim’s label Southern Fried on October 13th.
It’s a great LP, one that frequently hints at old school house music and thrums along with the catchiest of melodies. It occasionally feels like the type of album no one else is doing right now, maybe because everyone else is trying to push forward with the way they write their dance music. That is how it should be, but the way The 2 Bears stop and pay homage to retro sounds, while carving them into something funky and new, is fun as hell.
The duo spent some time in South Africa last year, taking part in a project put together by the magazine Live, and songs “Money Man” and “Son of the Sun” were recorded while there. Goddard and Rundell collaborated with local singers Sbussio and Kwaito icon Senyaka for these songs, and they definitely have a retro reggae feel to them. Not my favorites on the album, but props to The 2 Bears for paying respect to UK’s dance music past with a couple of songs that have got both a bouncy rhythm and a political edge. “Son of the Sun” also does have a couple of really great moments, including some solid rap delivery.
It’s songs like “Angel (Touch Me)”, “Not This Time” and “See You” that really do it for me, though, and it’s unashamedly because it reminds me of UK pop house beats from my high school years. All three of them are also extremely catchy, and place Rundell’s smooth and nicely accented vocals at the forefront. Get a perfect look at, and listen of, what I’m talking about in The 2 Bears fantastic, drag-based video for “Not This Time” below: