Bear in Heaven
I Love You, It’s Cool
Bear in Heaven have been kicking around the Brooklyn scene for the better part of a decade now. They made a couple of really good Kraut-heavy records that few people heard (2004's Tunes Nextdoor to Songs EP, 2007's Red Bloom of the Boom), and another that garnered them long overdue accolades and an audience, 2009's superb, yet slightly more conventional Beast Rest Forth Mouth.
The band, now consisting of singer/keyboardist Jon Philpot, guitarist Adam Wills, and drummer Joe Stickney, have built their own innate musical language after years of intense touring, and they exude a certain kinetic verve on I Love You, It's Cool.
The album certainly hews more closely to Beast Rest territory than their earlier, more experimental material. It's filled with sharply written hooks, albeit unorthodox ones, as the percussion is often as melodic as the synths or guitars. This doesn't detract, however, as the songs are still largely accessible.
Opener "Idle Heart" glacially builds from a sinewy drum and bass groove into a restrained crescendo of glossy, colliding synths. It's a nice introduction to the album, and a gateway to its first single, the jittery, hyper-melodic "The Reflection of You."
But the record's apotheosis is found on the scorching "Sinful Nature," which is something of a licentious flipside to the more quixotic Beast Rest standout "Lovesick Teenagers." The tension simmers beneath the surface on "Sinful Nature," as the synths percolate in a manner redolent of early Throbbing Gristle, and Stickney's bedrock drumming holds together the proceedings with metronomic efficiency.
Yet the ultimate kiss-off is delivered in Philpot's deceptively sinister intonation, "I know what it is/It's a phase/You just don't know." The power lies in the pregnant pause between "phase" and "you," imbuing the line with devastation and regret. It's subtle moments like these that illustrate just how far Bear in Heaven have progressed as songwriters, and I Love You, It's Cool is an album rife with them. (www.bearinheaven.com)
Author rating: 8/10
Average reader rating: 10/10