14 Iced Bears - Inside by Slumberland Records published on 2012/05/21 18:48:48 +0000 Formed in 1985 by Rob Sekula, 14 Iced Bears ably blended shambolic pop with a psychedelic punk edge that set them apart from their C86 contemporaries. Inspired by bands like the Stooges, Velvet Underground, 13th Floor Elevators and Echo & the Bunnymen, Sekula injected the then-nascent indie-pop sound with a twisted dose of noise and experimental menace. While still owing plenty to the Byrds/Ramones influences evident in the output of labels like Creation and Pink, it was this dark 60s flavor that always set the 'Bears apart. The first single, "Inside," appeared on TV Personality Mark Flunder's Frank label in late 1986 and was an instant success. BBC recording sessions for John Peel and fanzine/music weekly adulation quickly followed. A second single for Frank, "Balloon Song," further consolidated their following. The band toured England and Europe and the press was ecstatic. The late 80s revival of classic guitar-based pop was kind to the 'Bears, and Sekula's talent at penning catchy, twisted melodies earned them a coveted spot as one of the best of the lot. A third single sealed the deal, the raucous "Come Get Me" on the then-new label Sarah. The band went on the release their self-titled debut album in 1988; it was a masterpiece of psychedelic pop that turned a lot of heads with it's ambition and skilled songcraft. A raft of singles and a second album in 1991 followed, and the band quietly disbanded in 1992. "In The Beginning" compiles those classic first three singles in their entirely, along with eight never before released BBC session cuts and four demos/live tracks. This is the complete story of the band's most seminal, influential recordings. Upbeat, punky songs like "Inside" and "Balloon Song" are tempered by dreamy ballads like "Cut" and the folky "Like A Dolphin." Every tune is a perfect little gem, combining memorable melodies with punchy guitar noise and infectious enthusiasm. These songs have had an undeniable influence on indie pop in the years since, and the 'Bears stand tall with contemporaries like The Pastels and The June Brides as cornerstones of the indie scene.