Posts Tagged ‘The Slow Cooked Bears’

2nd September 2022

James Wells

The last time we encountered Slow Cooked Bears here was back in December 2020, on the release of their single ‘The Grand Scheme’, the follow up to the stark, tense-sounding ‘Space Odyssey’.

They’ve been hard at it back on the live circuit since then, and these things change bands, harden them, shape them, give them focus, and a reforged sense of identity. Well it can, or it can crush them. The London trio have followed the former path, and rather than becoming crushed by the wheels of industry, have been building themselves nicely.

Pitched as being for fans of The Smashing Pumpkins, Queens of the Stone Age, Placebo and Pixies, ‘We’ll Never Be Apart’ was produced with Michael Smith whose former clients include Wolf Alice and Anteros, and promises ‘a giant leap’ – and yes, it delivers.

With a rolling bass and chiming guitar by way of an intro, it breaks into a big bridge that becomes a surging chorus. You don’t get many songs where the hook is the guitar section after the vocals, but with ‘We’ll Never Be Apart’, they bring it. And, while in places it hints at the kind of early 00s arena indie, the songs packs in drive and edge that’s emotionally rich and owes more to the likes of The Twilight Sad than it does to Keane or Coldplay back in the day.

On other words, it really is a huge evolution that sees the band straddling boundaries. It’s got enough heft to not be a complete sell-out, but it’s certainly not as dark or edgy as ‘Space Oddysey’, being a whole lot less Joy Division / Editors / Interpol / Cinematics, and less Placebo in collision with Royal Blood and Black Keys than ‘The Grand Scheme’, and hinting at ambitions of broader horizons.

Objectively, it’s a great tune, and could well mark a turning point for the band. Is it too early for me to say I preferred their earlier stuff without sounding like a hipster cockend? Guess that depends on the next single, right?

Artwork - Slow Cooked Bears

11th December 2020

London trio Slow Cooked Bears are all about the hybridity, bringing together a mixture of visceral alternative noise rock to forge what they describe as ‘a left-field, avant-garde sound that’s both nostalgic and modern with elements of grunge, synth pop and reverb heavy post-rock’.

Now, nostalgia ain’t what it used to be, especially now it’s become the last cash cow for late capitalism to milk, and there’s never been a better time to milk it dry than in 2020 when half the world is stuck at home, unable to socialise, see friends or family, shop or conduct all of the activities that have been part of everyday life for the last century. Who doesn’t yearn for the past? Who hasn’t at some point in recent months delved into musical memories that remind them of time spent in the company of friends?

Their releases to date all carry something of a spacey theme, that seem to have little correspondence to the oddball barbarism of the band name, which makes ‘The Grand Scheme’ something of a departure from Eclipse (2018) and Space Odyssey (2019).

It kicks in with a big swaggering blues riff and burns into a grungy alt-rock descending chord sequence for the chorus. It’s hooky as hell, and they sound confident but not cocky, and there’s a 90s vibe that hints vaguely at Placebo while they’re kicking out Zeppelinesque guitar breaks spun through a contemporary filter that alludes to the likes of Rivals Sons and (earlier) Royal Blood. As such, it’s nostalgia, but with a twist, and it works. In the grand scheme of things, and even by any measure, this is a pretty strong single cut.