Album Reviews - Reviews

Bear In Heaven – Time Is Over One Day Old


Time Is Over One Day Old is the fourth studio album by Bear in Heaven. It is also their finest album to date, more relaxed than Beast Rest Forth Mouth or I Love You, It’s Cool, though certainly not a million miles away from these earlier outings. There are more of the rippling synths, the running basslines and coy vocal progressions which mark out Bear in Heaven’s sound. The formula has always worked and they have recognised this – it now works even better.

There are many comparisons to be made with this album, yet it manages to be unique and interesting despite the discernible foundations of its sound. Perhaps it is by being recognisable that Bear in Heaven manage a sort of nostalgaic menace, the kind that is meant for those moments of fancy while walking in long hotel corridors. Essentially, Bear in Heaven offer music to remember and imagine to.

The album opens with ‘Autumn’. It is not loud or aggressive, but sounds exactly as the name suggests. There is something hazed about the song, like turning leaves or the music one hears when they swim at night. It is followed by ‘Time Between’ and ‘If I Were to Lie’. Again, these songs are equanimous but they also serve to assure us that this album has some balls to it. Bear in Heaven fit somewhere in the middle of Yeasayer and Grizzly Bear, but there is also a menace to be found in their music which the other bands lack. ‘The Sun and the Moon and the Stars’ is paired back and beautiful. Its star-gazing melodies and psychedelic vocals slink along with the smoothness of a Boards of Canada number, before giving way to the throbbing bassline of ‘Memory Heart’. In this song, one can recognise that there is more than a touch of krautrock in Bear in Heaven’s sound. Maybe it’s the reservedness with which the music progresses. One can imagine John Philpot, the band’s founding member, having listened to his fair share of Kraftwerk and Faust, but there is also a delicacy to their use of sound which allows for the kind of tenderness and emotion which krautrock bands are sometimes in want of.

‘Way Off’ is certainly one of my picks of the album. Its effervescent chords and the effortless vocals of Philpot make for a moody, sexy affair. After this, the album comes to a close with ‘Dissolve the Walls’ and ‘You Don’t Need the World’. The former is slow and submerged, while the latter offers a hopeful and slightly wistful end to a remarkable album. Then all that’s left is the short few moments before you play the record again.

This album manages to impress upon you a velvety weight. It gets under your skin and warms you. Like Darkside’s Psychic or Baths’ Obsidian, it manages to be at once eerie and uplifting. With steely undertones it broods but does not depress. It is the kind of album that stretches an hour. It moves slowly around you like tectonic plates, or storm clouds. It is exceptional. Jarlath McDonagh

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