The Brooklyn band’s third album grabs the listener from its first play.
Chris Beanland 2012-05-18
If you've got a spare four months you might like to listen to the stream of I Love You, It's Cool which Brooklyn's Bear in Heaven have slowed down by 400,000%. The as-good-as interminable 2,700 hours of pure drone is a neat skit, and it allows reviewers to make the know-it-all point that, actually, you need to give this band time. Aren't we writers just so perceptive?
Time isn't necessarily what you need to give this album at all, though. The Reflection of You is an immediate winner that grabs you by the lapels and pulls you right in close. It's a synth-driven pure pop gem that requires next to no time to take hold.
Sinful Nature is another effort that’s deliciously hooky from the first taste, and while Bear in Heaven’s card might’ve been marked as psychedelic prior to this third LP’s release, there are no outré elements purely for the sake of it, and nothing is ever overblown.
Almost everything is tight and controlled, returning time and again to the simple power of a pop song. Frontman Jon Philpot seems in thrall to John Travolta on The Reflection of You when he winks, "If you come dance with me / I think you will like my moves." Elsewhere, with his big mouth and strut strapped on, he very nearly channels Ian Brown on the stomping Space Remains.
But if there’s a criticism to direct this trio’s way, it’s that they perhaps could get lost in the moment a bit more, as when they do it’s glorious. Three-minutes-fifty into World of Freakout and then again during Sinful Nature they stretch the song at hand further than it should go, upping the ante, volume and intensity into elongated crescendos that Hot Chip would be proud of. And maintaining these directions even longer wouldn’t have seemed self-indulgent – they could swell to mountainous proportions and please any listener.
The qualities that may have led to comment that this album needs time to sink in are found during slower, moodier moments: lugubrious grooves like Warm Water and Noon Moon, each a thoughtful slice of modern electronica. Longevity might ultimately be an issue, but if we're living in the moment – as the superb title of this record seems to suggest we do – then who cares? Just dance.