Published Aug 05, 2014It's not clear if the latest Bear in Heaven album is named for the sly joke that the music it contains is playing on us. In some ways, each of the songs this Brooklyn band present here is some kind of call back to eras or artists that precede it, but the influences are distorted, ground up and rendered with specific intent. It's foggy post-pop — skittering prog-percussion and swampy synths bolstering Jon Philpot's high, airy voice as he vents and lets go of his past.
"You told me lies, I believed you," he coos, before bellowing "Falling out!" on "Time Between." It's neatly followed by "If I Were to Lie," which has a Kanye-meets-Bee Gees thing happening, punctuated by Philpot's Gibb-y voice actually wondering, "Suicide or staying alive?" There are touches of Dilla here and there (most notably on the recurring digital drone employ on "They Dream") but patient zero is My Morning Jacket's Z. When it came out in 2005, it seemed like an introspective, impenetrable, space-rock masterpiece in the band's harder edged trajectory and it has aged well, quietly influencing artists who've followed.
With his altered, multi-tracked vocals and ear for dynamic builds, Philpots leads Bear in Heaven on a similar sonic path, surrounding biting verse-chorus-verse lyricism with ambient laser beams and rubbery textures. (Dead Oceans)