Bear In Heaven

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Red Bloom of the Boom (2007) , 6/10
Beast Rest Forth Mouth (2009) , 6.5/10

New York's Bear In Heaven, fronted by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Jon Philpot, dabbled in a vast spectrum of styles from abstract noise to chamber music, and from electronic impressionism to prog-rock, on the EP Tunes Nextdoor to Songs (2004).

Red Bloom of the Boom (Exile on Mainstream, 2007) Opener Bag Of Bags is a confused sequence of electronic vibrato, fat drumming, emphatic shouts, etc, but the seven-minute Slow Gold is a more organic structure with a recurring melodic theme and melodramatic arrangements in the tradition of prog-rock. The piece employs enough rhythmic imagination to sustain interest. Werewolf is basically a ballad infected with psychedelic dizziness and post-rock subtlety, whose most appealing moment is a Sixties-inspired female refrain. The shorter Arm's Length fares better thanks to more inspired digital noises, a brisk rhythm and haunting vocal effects. The tense and evocative Fraternal Noon sounds like an excerpt from Welcome to the Machine-era Pink Floyd but with far less pathos. Philpot's synthesizer and drummer Joe Stickney dialogue in a sublimely incoherent manner. The problem is that the song constructs are not very substantial, and too often it all amounts only to pop balladry in disguise.

The influence of the new wave of the late 1970s surfaced on Beast Rest Forth Mouth (Hometapes, 2009), whose (shorter) songs were less meandering and more poignant. There are countless intriguing ideas: martial drumming and bombastic vocals combine to shape Beast In Peace; Dust Cloud indulges in music that is barely out of tune but then doesn't quite know what to do with it; drums and keyboards annihilate each other in You Do You. However, the band is clearly trying to be more consummable. Lovesick Teenagers fits the requirements but it's ridiculously trivial. A supersonic electronic beat surfaces in Wholehearted Mess, but that too comes through as out of context. The more inspired Deafening Love, at least, sounds like a remix of a Sinead O'Connor threnody. The syncopated frenzy of Fake Out mauls a relatively straightforward melody. Ultimate Satisfaction is Brazilian pop music played through a paper shredder before soaring into a dream-pop croon. The best compromise between the first album's progressive approach and the new melodic push is perhaps Drug A Wheel, where industrial polyrhythm and miasmatic waves meet a catchy rigmarole. A close second is the last song, Casual Goodbye, that impales a simple tune onto a sequencer and wraps it into an instrumental crescendo.

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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