Solar Bears – She Was Coloured In
Reviewed by Bowlegs Source: (Bowlegs)
Irish duo Solar Bears created quite a buzz with their debut EP – Inner Sunshine – last year. Now they have followed it up with an impressively appealing synth-based debut album.
Opening track ‘Forest of Fountains’ begins with a Jack Nicolson voiced sample from the 1975 existential art-house movie, ‘The Passenger’, which is an early indicator of the vibe Solar Bears are going for here. The influence of cinema pervades all, not least in the band’s own name, which recalls another metaphysical piece of celluloid: Andrei Tarkovsky’s Russian sci-fi classic ‘Solaris’, remade in 2002 and featuring an excellent ambient soundtrack by ex-Chilli Pepper drummer Cliff Martinez. That masterful piece of dreamlike trance is ironically far more experimental than ‘She Was Coloured In’, which is, at heart, a pretty formulaic piece of electronica. No bad thing when it’s done this well, however.
Indeed, there’s a warmth and optimism to the material, combined with a sure handedness and awareness of what they are doing, which makes the analog-retro quality of ‘She Was Coloured In’ more than just homage: it has an appeal all of its own which is well worth fans of Board of Canada or even Air seeking out. Squeeze your eyes shut and imagine you’ve put the wrong CD in by mistake and ‘Primary Colours at the Back of my Mind’ could be the latter down to a tee. Listening to the speak-and-spell vocals of ‘Children of the Times’ will have you reaching for your Kraftwerk all over again, but not to check for plagiarism, simply because it will remind you why you loved this kind of music in the first place.
‘She Was Coloured In’ is like a love letter to Krautrock, electronica soundtracks and ambient techno, which by sheer enthusiasm and skill stands on its own as an enjoyable, if not essential, listen.
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