Bear in Heaven – I love you, it`s cool (US import)


Months in advance of the release of I Love You, It’s Cool, Brooklyn trio Bear in Heaven posted streaming audio of the new album in its entirety on their website. The catch was that they slowed the audio significantly, stretching the songs into a continuous 247 hour file, their upbeat synthy pop songs sounding more like the icy ambient drones of Gas or Tim Hecker when played 400,000-percent slower. The stream came off more tongue-in-cheek when the band released a conjoining video mockumentary absurdly positing that they played the entire three-month track live. In one sense, transforming their album into an experimental wash is nothing more than a jokey publicity stunt, but in another, it might suggest the band is taking a look backwards. I Love You, It’s Cool (when played at full speed) is a non-stop showering of hard-edged synths, fuzzy drums, and suave vocals. It’s a crisp pop record made less sterile by a barrage of noisy sounds and tight productions, like the angsty kid brother of Phoenix who would rather make art films than go to the club or maybe a noisier, less controlled foil to the lush melancholia of Beach House. This is a logical progression from their 2009 breakthrough album Beast Rest Forth Mouth, but before that album, Bear in Heaven’s sound jumped around hyperactively from Eno-following rock to murky sample-based experimentalism. Their 2007 album, Red Bloom of the Boom, included long passages of ambient wash, not terrifically unlike the lurching sounds of ILY, IC slowed dramatically. Those moments of genre-hopping and sonic wandering are completely absent here. The production is huge and without flaws, showcasing the band’s big beats and armies of synths in loud colors. “The Reflection of You” is among the catchier songs on the album, bandleader Jon Philpot‘s smooth vocals high in the mix and crooning seductively over layers of distorted bass and melodic electro textures. It’s one of the more clear-headed tracks, as the production gets dreamier as the album goes on. By “Sinful Nature,” the band is submerged completely in their swirling sound, dunking the’ 90s soft psychedelic guitar rock influence of Jane’s Addiction or Gish-era Smashing Pumpkins under syncopated walls of sawtooth synthesizer patterns. Tracks like “World of Freakout” and “Space Remains” flirt with the same kind of theatrical indie bombast as contemporaries like M83 or MGMT. I Love You, It’s Cool is a steamrolling album, and with that hyper-vivid flow of stimuli, songs become samey and disengaging after a while. The only breather comes in the downtempo hippy groove of album-closer “Sweetness & Sickness.” While the band has grown since their beginnings, it’s not hard to think they might miss their salad days of less precise Krautrock jamming and infusing the experimental with the pristine. Their breed of futuristic pop is more polished than ever, and loses some of its edge with that increased emulsion. With digital download .Mint.




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