It was during the marvelously propulsive "They Dream" that I saw the glory of Bear in Heaven. You see, I had been a casual fan of the band before that moment.
That track, from their new record Time Is Over One Day Old, out now on Dead Oceans, is all sleek lines and surging rhythms but it's Jon Philpot's vocals that give the song its charm. And it was those vocals that made me realize what a great band this is.
From the Talk Talk-like near-melancholia of "Autumn" to the China Crisis-echoing "Memory Heart", Philpot and bandmates Adam Wills and Jason Nazary have produced a sublime record. It's an album full of texture and experimentation but one that is full of human emotion. Like Wild Beasts, Bear in Heaven use a range of synthesizers and samples to push boundaries but at the center of the music remains a divine voice.
Still, there are moments here that are darker -- the weird Depeche Mode/Coil-isms of "Demon", for instance -- and ones that are lighter -- the ethereal "Dissolve the Walls", for example, that nearly dissolves itself as the vocals get more and more remote.
Bear in Heaven have produced an album that sounds fully-formed. Time Is Over One Day Old mixes a range of electronic soundscapes with Philpot's heavenly vocals. Somehow organic, the record is also futuristic in a truly visionary way. Where bands in the past would toss in a cheesy synth riff to signal that they were new wave, the lads in Bear in Heaven have found a way to seamlessly integrate those synthesizers and other instruments with real instruments and real vocals in a unique fashion. If I can compare Bear in Heaven to anyone it's Wild Beasts, or Talk Talk. And like late period Talk Talk, the tracks here unfurl and expand in surprisingly and illuminating ways.
Treat yourself and grab Time Is Over One Day Old from Bear in Heaven. It's out now on Dead Oceans.
Follow the band on their Facebook page.