When: Sat., Aug. 23, 8 p.m. 2014
Some bands shift from style to style like they're nervous they'll run out of time or miss a trend. But Time is Over One Day Old, the fourth album from Brooklyn-via-Georgia synth-pop provocateurs Bear in Heaven, lands as the result of a decade of deliberate refinement. "The Sun The Moon And The Stars," one of the record's highlights, condenses the band's distinctive sense of bombast by building slowly and closing with an epic, sweeping chorus—all in less than three minutes. The balance between calming ballads and anxious dance numbers is arresting and nuanced, evidence of years—and collaborators—come and gone.
In 2007, Bear in Heaven debuted with Red Bloom of the Boom, a record that suggested a synth-loving act trapped somewhere between pop accessibility and protracted prog-rock. While often rather long, the songs were full of compelling menace and insistent hooks. They were dense with restive tones. In conscious contrast, singer Jon Philpot's clarion vocals cut through the nervous digital array. The essential next step arrived with 2010's vaunted Beast Rest Forth Mouth—self-editing. The songs were short and restrained, offering earworms to the point of becoming full-on pop. Sure, there was still a bit of menace, but that served to infuse this collection of open-window gems with a dangerously nihilistic edge. Its 2012 record, I Love You, It's Cool, trod much the same ground—fun, but nowhere near as essential as its predecessor or follow-up, Time is Over One Day Old
The new material has, at last, merged Beast Rest's concise punch with Red Bloom's gnawing panic. Some songs plunge through dark, synthetic dreamscapes, while surrounding disaffected vocals with anxious textural washes. An apocalyptic vibe runs throughout. If synth-pop tends toward dance-offs and bliss-outs, Bear in Heaven offers balance by being that genre's monster under the bed. With Young Magic and Weeknight. —Corbie Hill