Monday, July 19, 2010

Beast Rest Forth Mouth - Bear In Heaven

Beast Rest Forth Mouth

Bear In Heaven
Hometapes Records.

SCQ Rating: 79%

Despite Beast Rest Forth Mouth being released to American shores last fall, Bear In Heaven’s successful run is still just catching stride. With another massive tour underway, the Brooklyn-based quartet has also just unveiled a remix album that Hometapes is claiming as “worthy of both headphones and dancefloors”. Featuring contributions from the likes of Studio, The Field and Justin K. Broadrick, the currently untitled companion disc holds considerable promise for a project of this nature. In other words, this project might avert the usual fate of remix records in that it might serve as something better than a beer coaster.

Still, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Their breakthrough is finally getting settled in the UK and, at the risk of negating that remix album’s intentions, Beast Rest Forth Mouth seems worthy of headphones and dancefloors in its natural incarnation. Granted, a gently warped jam like ‘Dust Cloud’ doesn’t scream dancefloor but it is pure euphoria, all fragmented vocals and sleepy synths tumbling over bedsheets before a sweeping climax of psych percussion shakes you from the dream. Cathartic and expansive, I would happily stake a tile of the dancefloor for Beast Rest Forth Mouth. That same scope - think New Wave via 70’s Prog – informs a bevy of early highlights; ‘Beast In Peace’ chugs to life as an exotic lullaby before its mountainous chorus erupts while ‘Wholehearted Mess’ and ‘Lovesick Teenagers’ embrace more hook-oriented synth-pop without abandoning their penchant for bulging compositions. Besides their infectious no-man’s land approach to rock and electronic subgenres, much of Bear In Heaven’s mystique can be pinpointed to Jon Philpot’s vocals, which are androgynous and curiously layered into even the band’s more robust moments.

The spacious quality that permeates Bear In Heaven’s latest album is so convincing, with their ability to throw impossible-to-unravel chords of guitar and keys into echoed chasms, it seems unbelievable that Beast Rest Forth Mouth barely breaches the forty-minute mark. Not because it feels overlong and not because it’s difficult to digest in one sitting; quite the opposite. These ten songs are accessible and yet so warmly intimidating, it’s surprising how a journey this massive can run its course so concisely. So when does this remix album come out?

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