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Boomkat Product Review:
Jazz explorers Polar Bear first came to wider attention in 2005 when their second album Held On The Tips Of Fingers was nominated for the Mercury Prize. The same year, the band's leader Sebastian Rochford received the BBC Jazz Awards Rising Star gong. For this fourth Polar Bear record the band have drawn as much influence from classic soul as from their more conventional touchstones, and this manifests itself not only in the structuring of the music (particularly with its riff-heavy horns) but in the warmth of the vintage-style production and heated up drum sound. Peepers cements Polar Bear's position as one of the UK's brightest hopes in contemporary jazz and proves that for all their tendencies towards experimentalism and fusion they're still an eminently accessible band. Outside of America or Scandinavia it's still very rare that you'll hear jazz records this successful in their incorporation of pop influences, and from the energetic rock-band type performances to the tumbling electronics of guitarist Leafcutter John, this quintet are as likely to attract listeners who don't ordinarily dabble in jazz as they are hardened aficionados of the genre. Peepers is an addictive, highly accomplished album and comes highly recommended.