March the 5th brought the release of The 2 Bears’ Be Strong Remix EP which features 2 remixes of the title track ‘Be Strong’ both created by Basement Jaxx’s Simon Ratcliff and Heart of the Congos Remix by original Hot Chip member Grovesnor. Both songs are taken from their celebratory debut album ‘Be Strong’ released earlier this year.
The 2 Bears are one of the many side projects of the busy London based duo singularly known as Hot Chip member Joe Goddard and Raf Rundell. They take their name as not only of a reflection of their physical appearance but also paying homage to a gay subculture and the classic house music that has inspired and earned their respect.
Other influences are said to be from ‘anywhere we can find a spirit of musical adventure,’ stated by Raf Rundell in an interview with Dazed and Confused.
This is a definite theme that continues throughout the Ep.
We begin our audio journey with the Lil Whistle Remix a bouncy and uplifting rhythm that casts imagery of dancing on a beach at night time – deep into the hours of partying.
A juxtaposition is formed by the soothing beat contrasted with the eeriness due to the scattered rattles and howls which conjures up the idea of there being a series of mysterious creatures watching. The indistinguishable noises help to unite togetherness with the fictional party goers moving in harmony around the fabricated fire.
The Second track Mala Dub is as though it has rolled onto the consecutive day, the contributing carnival vibes create a brighter atmosphere. However the beach party is also merging into Notting Hill carnival as this track is much more layered and deeper – reminding us of the bustling crowds as well as the occasional distant horn.
The Third and final track is saving the best to last in my view mixed by Grovesnor whom definitely leaves an imprint of Hot Chip due the harmonious undertones. Arguably the strongest track from the album Heart of the Congos, is in praise to the original regage band.
This last voyage seems that via some sort of transportation, the digitalized and computer generated sounds introduce the notion of space travel or whizzing past in a car. Grovensor’s remix is much more upbeat and fast-paced which I prefer. The quick moving tempo is accompanied with the strong gravely vocals of Joe Goddard whom are not too dissimilar to that of the likes of Ian Dury and Suggs.
This song is more nostalgic as though we have time-travelled back into the past, back to the 80’s in which both periods of time are sharing a financial crisis. This makes sense as often times like these we seek means of escapism.
The final part of the track introduces choir singing which is encompassing the themes from the album with the final song Church – finishing the musical adventure with a sense of community.
Escapism, nostalgia and good times is probably how I would sum up the new EP single from the 2 Bears. The tracks are much more livelier and uplifting and are definite crowd pleasers for the summer.
The couple know the bear necessities for a successful party piece, which makes sense from a partnership formed on the foundations of a love of house.