Solar Bears – Inner Sunshine EP review

Soon to release their debut album, She Was Coloured In, on Planet Mu, Irish duo John Kowalski and Rian Trench aka Solar Bears let fly with this excellent teaser. A rich combination of post-rock songwriting, pre-dance sounds and a healthy respect for pop’s more oddball and maverick producers goes into their songs, as well as a keen awareness of soundtracks, which seem to be their greatest influence judging from this EP.

“Trans Waterfall” is the opener and has the feel of a cosmic live band, in the vein of Prins Thomas’ recent output, with bass and live drums holding the rhythm down while feedback and synths unite to form a spacey melody. Just as it breaks down into a lush, reverbed acoustic guitar break toward the end, “Photo Negative Living” brings them back and puts them centre stage. Multi-tracked and sounding similar in tone to Steve Reich’s “Electric Counterpoint”, the Bears take an overused instrument and make it sound full of life again. It really is very wonderful stuff indeed.

The short and beatless “Inner Sunshine” drifts in, reminding heavily of Boards of Canada’s use of fleeting but heart-wrenching moments on “Music Has The Right To Children”, while “Kill On” unleashes a post-rock darkside as electric guitars come crashing on after a gentle start. This is highly impressive, highly unique stuff, and with excellent mixes by Letherette and Lone also included, this is an EP that could start a real love affair with this band. Roll on the album in a few weeks time.

Oliver Keens