Polar Bear do not stand still. Six albums into a celebrated career, they continue to think far beyond genre restrictions.
After 2014’s Mercury Prize shortlisted In Each And Every One, they barely drew breath before unveiling Same As You. Driven by a renewed vitality from bandleader/drummer Sebastian Rochford, there is a startling freshness in the songs, both thematically and sonically. After the dark complexity of recent output, Same As You is presented in sharp focus, as inclusive and accessible as the title suggests, while still maintaining the playful experimentation on which the band made its name. Inspired in part by six weeks Rochford spent in the Mojave Desert, the vocal performances and the heartfelt, spiritual lyrics are a welcome addition to the rich instrumental line-up: Pete Wareham and Mark Lockheart (tenor sax), Tom Herbert (double bass) and Leafcutter John (electronics), with Shabaka Hutchings (Sons Of Kemet, Melt Yourself Down) making a guest appearance.
Following their 2004 debut Dim Lit, the group received their first Mercury Prize nomination for Held On The Tips Of Fingers in 2005. Critically lauded, it has subsequently featured in Jazzwise magazine’s 100 Jazz Albums That Shook The World and The Guardian’s 1000 Albums To Hear Before You Die.
Rochford has worked with a bewildering array of iconic musicians including Paul McCartney, Brian Eno, Grace Jones, Beck, Rokia Traoré, Yoko Ono, Matana Roberts, Jehst and Damon Albarn’s Africa Express project over a 15 year career that has seen the drummer, composer and producer emerge as a pivotal figure in contemporary British music.