Bear In Heaven - Time Is Over One Day Old
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When I reviewed Bear In Heaven's last album, 2012's I Love You, It's Cool the one complaint I had was that it felt, despite it being generally good, rather one-paced. Some tracks felt comfortable in around third gear, weighed down slightly by unnecessary instrumentation and as the record went on that feeling nagged.
Perhaps Jon Philpot, Adam Wills and new drummer Jason Nazary felt the same; in the press to accompany Time Is Over One Day Old, Bear In Heaven spoke of stripping away layers to leave only what was necessary for this their fourth studio album. Time Is Over One Day Old, as a result, sounds streamlined, instant and a fairly good reflection of what it's like to see the band live. It's the album that should have come after the brilliant Beast Rest Forth Mouth, and this time it really does bridge the gap between the band's proggier explorative tendencies and their pop/dancefloor side.
You can hear the urgency straight away in opener 'Autumn'; a bass line that never quits its repetition, classic Bear In Heaven shimmering synth washes and Philpot's underrated gentle croon all combine to produce perhaps the most immediate BIH track to date. Well, until 'Time Between' follows up with its propulsive genius anyway; it's all about Wills' bass and the nervy percussion provided by Nazary that provides a weighty anchor for Philpot to buzz seesaw guitars over and mysteriously (or mystically) chant "falling out....falling out"...either deep with meaning or completely all surface, it depends on your take on "a lot of shedding, getting rid of layers and pre-conceptions...breaking up with old ways of thinking". By the time 'If I Were To Lie' passes through with its lolloping grooves and twinkling electronics it's clear that new drummer Nazary has really added something lost between Beast and I Love You: this is a focused Bear In Heaven that really wants you to feel something. Whether that's with the head or the heart is up to you, but there's no doubt here that both are being catered for. And there's no issue over pace here; while the opening three tracks all move around bass and percussion, all three take a different, fresh approach.
It's not all urgency with Time Is Over One Day Old, though; 'They Dream' is split between warp-drive synths and an ethereal second half that allows Philpot's vocal some well-earned space, while the suitably cosmic-titled 'The Sun and The Moon and The Stars' is expansive-as-hell, replete with shoegaze guitar and restrained percussion based around tambourine and cymbal. Not settling for one pace for too long, 'Demon' is a track that wouldn't be out of place on Beast, its insistence is unsettling in the best sense of the word, keeping the listener alert. Philpot sings, over a sampled female vocal loop, "take your hands from me / and your sympathy" then "take your kiss from me" seemingly troubled, and as the track heads out of control via a noisy electronic breakdown you get the sense the band are working through some issues to get to the point where they're done with "old ways of thinking".
Closing the album with 'You Don't Need the World' makes sense in the wake of Bear In Heaven simply wanting the listener to feel something and find the positives. A gentle waltz of a song containing a wonderful cyclical riff and handclap percussion, we're urged to forget what's around us ("the world is full of shit") and take the best from the people closest to us - and that's what Philpot and co appear to have done as a band. Not so much breaking up with old ways of thinking as redefining and refining them, Bear In Heaven have gone back to what they do best.
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