Bear in Heaven are four gents who play electronic-psychedelic rock as if they were in Germany in 1973, only they’re from Brooklyn by way of Georgia and Alabama (the members all originate from latitudes below the Mason-Dixon Line). In that way, this is thoroughly American music but as transcendent of musical enclosure laws as it is cosmic in its perspective.

Like its krautrock and early prog forebears (pun intended), or even like their contemporaries Deerhunter, BIH are ambitious alchemists, taking not only traditional rock instruments but also rock history itself and through some impenetrable artistic process turn it all into indie gold. Impenetrable, because it took a few songs for me to warm up to this sound. By the time the album’s sixth song (“Dust Cloud”) was over, however, I was hooked.

This driving sound has subtle melodic and emotional sense. The power of the synthesizer has not been denied by BIH on this, their second full-length album.

This is not to say they deny guitars and drums. Hardly. In fact, Joe Stickney’s steady, tribal drumming opens the entire album and packs a wallop throughout. But the main melodic instrument is some fashion of electronic keyboard, a perfect thickening agent for the spacey vocal echoes.

Grade: A



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