Time is Over One Day Old, the long awaited fourth studio album from Brooklyn based Bear In Heaven is, sure enough, about the concept of time. Seasons, memory, space, dreaming, and reflection… they all seem present and accounted for. The time theme has a nostalgic slant to it- there is something wistful and aching in the tones and a kind of internal or external reflection pronounced in the lyrics. Undoubtedly, Bear In Heaven retain their complicated, brilliant layering musically that can be found in their previous albums. A lot of the songs have a new wave sensibility- a thumping beat mixed with skilled fast paced instrumentation and ambient synthizer effects that could easily be danced or swayed to. There is an artful building of sounds in each and every song: dissonant and pure, conflict and resolution.
The first track, “Autumn”, kicks off with a few eerie dissonant notes that are quickly interrupted by a driving beat, leading it then into a fun synth-infused summer jam. The use of sounds as building blocks, particularly with the implementation of odd effects throughout, showcase skilled compositional ability–nearly orchestral-esque– in the way they successfully mold the track together. “Time Between”, boasts airy synth juxtaposed with fun, meticulous bass lines paired with soaring vocals, and gives the song an ambient, relaxed vibe. In “Dissolve The Walls”, vocals are used to assist with the layering in of sounds, lending the song the quality of an eerie choir chanting over the synth tracks that moor the composition as a whole, while the pulsating, grainy, gain-y beat evolves.
A haunting reticence and reflection hovers over some of the rhythmic synth-rock beats that pervade various tracks throughout the album, particularly In “If I Were to Lie”, in which vocalist Jon Philpot chants “If I were to lie in telling you how I’m dealing… better off alone, better when you need me.” Similarly, in “The Sun and the Moon and The Stars”, the song tells a narrative about traveling through space, a journey that leaves the protagonist disappointed in what he finds as he croons repetitively over the expansive ambient tone, “Is this it, or is this it?”. “Memory Heart” has a drum line that thumps in tandem with the bass like a heart beat with a deliciously dissonant guitar line and crawling synth melodies, which all resolve in the audibly spacious chorus, to start back up again. Quite frankly, this track rules.
Time is Over One Day Old still undoubtedly retains the complex musicality and dissonant underpinnings of their previous albums, yet shows a discernible evolution in both arenas, that allow it to pack a punch that their prior work hasn’t.
The album comes out August 5th on Dead Ocean.
In the meantime, listed to “Autumn” here via Soundcloud.
Their North American tour dates include the following:
Mon. Aug. 4 – Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade (in-store)
Wed. Aug. 20 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
Thu. Aug. 21 – Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair
Fri. Aug. 22 – Washington, DC @ Rock and Roll Hotel
Sat. Aug. 23 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle (Back Room)
Sun. Aug. 24 – Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West
Tue. Aug. 26 – Baton Rouge, LA @ Spanish Moon
Wed. Aug. 27 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues (Bronze Peacock)
Thu. Aug. 28 – Austin, TX @ The Parish
Tue. Sept. 2 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Echoplex
Wed. Sept. 3 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
Fri. Sept. 5 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
Sat. Sept. 6 – Spokane, WA @ Bartfest
Sun. Sept. 7 – Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey
Wed. Sept. 10 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St. Entry
Thu. Sept. 11 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
Fri. Sept. 12 – Columbus, OH @ A&R Music Bar
Sat. Sept. 13 – Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern
Sun. Sept. 14 – Montreal, QC @ La Sala Rossa
Tue. Sept. 16 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
Wed. Sept. 17 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg