Having emerged from an under-performing British band who failed to live up to the hype to pursue a difficult-to-pigeonhole solo career under a new guise, it’s little wonder that singer/rapper Adio Marchant, aka Bipolar Sunshine, has been described as the U.K.’s answer to hipster producer Dev Hynes.
Formerly of Kid British, the six-piece ska revivalists who briefly threatened to bring the sounds of Madness back into the charts in the late 00s before splitting in the face of total apathy in 2012, the 30-year-old’s melancholic blend of guitar pop, electro and R&B undoubtedly shares some DNA with the artist also known as Blood Orange.
However, unlike the former Test Icicles guitarist, Bipolar Sunshine hasn’t entirely abandoned his indie past. Indeed, although Marchant has stated that he wants to move away from what people perceive as Manchester music – and there’s little sign of any Oasis influence in his genre-hopping sound – there are definite flourishes of their one-time arch-nemesis Blur, particularly on the “Song 2”-esque chords of “Rivers” and the “Tender”-inspired gospel balladry of “Fire.”
But Bipolar Sunshine looks more likely to break through to the mainstream with the kind of uplifting synth-pop that reflects the latter part of his moniker. “Deckchairs On The Moon,” a gloriously blissful slice of chillwave which recalls Washed Out’s theme to Portlandia, and the rousing festival anthem “Where Did The Love Go?” became part of last summer’s soundtrack. Meanwhile, recent collaborations with Mercury Prize nominees Rudimental on the brassy funk of “Distance” and US DJ Lane 8 on the Balearic house of “I Got What You Need (Every Night)” prove Marchant isn’t afraid to embrace club culture even further.
Following on from last year’s Aesthetics and Drawing Butterflies E.P.s, an as-yet-untitled debut album is scheduled for early next year; and with production from the likes of Kid Harpoon (Florence + The Machine) and Fraser T. Smith (Adele), Bipolar Sunshine seems much more likely to avoid the dumper second time around.