Bear In Heaven: I Love You, It’s Cool

Bear In Heaven, I Love You, It's CoolBear In Heaven: I Love You, It’s Cool
The third full-length outing from Jon Philpot’s Bear In Heaven, I Love You, It’s Cool, attempts to underscore the emotion and humanity of rock music by juxtaposing it against a backdrop of dance music to middling results. While these styles are not so disparate and have been paired successfully in the past, as with The Cure, for example, the sweet spot largely eludes Philpot. Even in the moments in which a balance is struck, the result has too much rock grit for the club and too much dance-floor verve for the rock show. On “The Reflection of You,” for example, guitar riffs that would be swallowed up by a more traditional rock sound linger hauntingly against the sterile canvas of drum samples and keyboard. “Here I am/there you are/there’s nothing left between us/so dance with me,” Philpot sings like a robot powering down. The lyric lacks the emotional insight that has become a staple of music written in the modern pop vernacular, but, as dance music goes, it leans to the intelligent end of the spectrum. It’s excessive in the way excess might have been imagined in the 1980’s and it’s easy to imagine the reflection referenced in the song’s title obscured by fluffy lines of white powder.
It’s tempting to say I Love You, It’s Cool has more to offer the fan of dance music, than the rock fan, but it could just as easily be the case that the album is an indicator of shifting tastes. College’s “A Real Hero,” for example, was one of last year’s breakout hits and featured a similarly retro sound. College, however, blended the rock and dance elements to a more natural-sounding result. For Bear In Heaven, placing these elements at odds might be exactly the point. I Love You, It’s Cool is dense and intense, taut and poised to succumb to a digital totality at any moment. That finality is kept at bay by Philpot’s Simon LeBon-like croon. Listeners who stick with the album for a few spins will probably be rewarded. There is clearly a lot going on here. To an ear untrained in the subtlety of electronic music, though, there is little to distinguish the songs from one another. Even if I Love You, It’s Cool fails as an attempt at great art – and it doesn’t, necessarily – at least you can dance to it.
Rating: 6.0/10
MP3: Bear in Heaven “The Reflection of You”
Buy: iTunes or Insound! vinyl