Polar Bear once again demonstrate with their fourth CD, Peepers, why the concept of an improvising rock band is an exciting one. They are still forging creative new paths.
The drumming and compositions of (leader) Sebastian Rochford are both concise and punchy from the outset; opener Happy For You is reminiscent of the energy and aggression of bands like The Strokes and Brit-rockers BabyShambles (another intermittent Rochford gig). Guitarist and electronics-wizard Leafcutter John is also particularly impressive, especially when creating powerful and interactive soundscapes on tracks A New Morning Will Come and Finding Our Feet.
Saxophonist Pete Wareham leads the charge throughout this record, his rasping tone and forceful improvisations bring drama to every track. Wareham’s duets with Mark Lockheart (also saxophone) are amongst the most beautiful moments here; none more so than on the melancholic final track All Here.