Bear In Heaven – I Love You, It’s Cool
By: Taylor Peters
Halfway through my third listen of I Love You, It’s Cool, it occurred to me that someone in Hollywood royally screwed up when they didn’t even consider hiring Bear In Heaven to contribute to the soundtrack of the movie Drive. Or at least for the new Gran Turismo racing game (I’ll confess that I’m not sure if they even still make those). In both Drive and Gran Turismo there’s a high premium placed on driving under dim streetlights at high speeds, veering in and out of slower traffic, and acting all stoic when the lady next door gets herself into a fix; all of that would be perfectly soundtracked by Bear in Heaven’s I Love You, It’s Cool.
Bear in Heaven coolly cruised on to the scene at large in 2009 with Beast Rest Forth Mouth. I Love You, It’s Cool is a reasonable development from that record. It’s a bit more focused, a bit icier around the edges, and a bit less cinematic in scope. For the most part, though, it’s got what you would expect from any number of modern new wave inflected electro pop groups: pulsing synths, laid back and rolling drums, heavily delayed guitars, and voices that sound like they’re hiding a dirty secret just under the surface. Probably the biggest complaint that will be leveled against this album by fans of the last one– that it doesn’t take as wide-angle lens approach as its predecessor– is arguably its greatest strength in a lot of ways.
For instance, standout “Kiss Me Crazy,” is content to lope along for it’s entire length, seeming to promise that a steady backbeat is just around the corner. The song never totally locks in though. It skitters along for three and a half minutes, teasing constantly, never fully delivering. There’s something perversely satisfying about that. Half way through, the song starts to build like it’s going to blow up, only to take a step down dynamically. It’s not a new trick, but it’s a good one. Track four, “Sinful Nature” is probably the closest the album gets to coming totally unhinged, and though the song is killer, it’s far from actually unhinged.
In the end though, the album’s restraint and control does become something of an albatross. Closer “Sweetness & Sickness” drags on a bit long, as do many of the songs in the second half of the album. In fact, although the album hardly breaks 40 minutes, it starts to seem like the band might be padding the track list with songs they’ve already played. It’s sort of like Gosling in Drive, actually. For the first bit it’s almost riveting; it really seems like all that stoicism and silence and failure to emote has got something amazing and complicated broiling just underneath. Spend a little more time with him (or this album) though, and it seems like the surface is all there is. Random beatdown in an elevator notwithstanding (and there’s nothing that I could even come close to analogizing with a beatdown on this album), if one is to peel away the very pretty and restrained surface, there doesn’t seem to be anything too substantial underneath.
Last 5 posts by bfinkel
- Interview with Dead Beach - April 12th, 2013
- Interview with Brownie Mountain - April 9th, 2013
- Interview with Darwin Deez - April 9th, 2013
- Interview with Erin McKeown - April 9th, 2013
- Bearded Men Burning Down the House; Phosphorescent and Strand of Oaks at the Bishop - April 9th, 2013