The 2 Bears new LP, The Night Is Young, is out today. Last week’s Album of the Week in the Guardian, The Night Is Young follows 2012’s hugely acclaimed Be Strong… here’s the story of how it all came together…
Two years ago The 2 Bears dropped a debut album that re-invigorated a genre and gathered music fans in the open embrace of house music. On October 13th they return with the second installment The Night Is Young, the eagerly awaited follow up released on Southern Fried. Where debut smash ‘Be Strong’ was rooted in their love for London, The Night Is Young takes on a more global vision. With a love for their home city still at its heart, the album pulls influences and experiences from across the world of dance music, drawing deeply from their trip to Africa last summer. As part of a project for Brixton based youth magazine Live, the duo played shows in Cape Town and Johannesburg and spent time recording in a studio run by BLKJKS’s Tsepang Ramoba. The lead vocals for Son Of The Sun were recorded there with a young singer called Sbusiso and Kwaito legend Senyaka, who also added his vocal to lead single Angel (Touch Me).
Speeding through multiple genres, often condensed into single tracks, The Night Is Young lifts The 2 Bear’s famed, eclectic DJ sets to higher realms, shifting the imperative to lose both body and mind distinctly up a gear. ‘I love tunes that disguise things,’ says Joe. ‘A really sweet melody with a really dark sentiment. Money Man is meant to be like that, you can have those glossy reggae records that still say something. We didn’t want to just be in that culture of not saying anything, where it’s all a fantasy world and everyone just goes and gets f****d up but no one says anything.’
It’s a stark contrast and one that cleverly moves the full-on party hedonism of their debut forward, without sacrificing any of its unadulterated disco charm. The record undulates, it’s like a taster menu; courses of hard house, soft reggae, punchy ragga, piano tear-jerkers, funk and soul, all made crystalline with the typically high level of production and the passion of Raf’s voice. The Lambsbread & Weepers EP showed the diversity of TNIY with the aforementioned Money Man, the soulful Get Out + bonus track Which Way.
Honing their craft with all the care and attention paid to a well-groomed patch of facial hair, Raf and Joe have bounced from Brixton to Tel Aviv via Cape Town, sharing the decks ever since their fateful incarnation, delivering a memorable blend of house, techno, ragga and more to almost every continent. A bearded pilgrimage if you will, and one that has coloured in the bold dancefloor-centric shapes of their second album The Night Is Young.
The 2 Bears take The Night Is Young on the road for their first ever UK live tour at the end of this month. Click here for ticket details. The dates are:
OCT 28 The Haunt, Brighton
OCT 29 Islington Mill, Manchester
OCT 30 Tufnell Park Dome, London
NOV 1 Opium Rooms, Dublin
NOV 4 King Tut’s, Glasgow
DEC 19 The Warehouse Project, Manchester
Before those dates – this Thursday in fact! – the Bears play a one-off instore at Rough Trade East. For ticket info, visit the Rough Trade shop site here.