BY EVENTSEEKER STAFF
I don’t usually listen to indie pop/rock, but Bear in Heaven‘s output is that perfect nugget that can fulfill all my feeble needs for that sort of music. Fortunately, the Brooklyn band comes to San Francisco often. The Independent show on April 8 was a special one–the guys premiered songs from their brand new album I Love You, It’s Cool (released on April 3). Judging by the live performance, Bear in Heaven has embraced a funkier and groovier direction, which can’t help but make me bouncy. Check out the new song “Sinful Nature” (I can’t take photos to save my life, so a song it is).
Every review of Bear in Heaven’s music points out the band’s propensity towards sonic experiments, but the careful layering and occasional minimalist repetition just add spice to its tight, streamlined pop songs, strengthening instead of dissolving them. Bear in Heaven is just slightly psychedelic, so its songs set a dreamy mood without letting the listener slip into a trance. And, most importantly, the music has the only quality that actually matters in pop music–it is sexy. At a Bear in Heaven show you feed on the group’s infectious energy–the guys clearly love performing and adore their new songs–as well as the charisma of the singer, Jon Philpot. He’s a diva, in a sense that “he has hella swagger.” The guy (who has shaved off his mustache, by the way) endeared the Independent’s audience to himself with his vigorous vocal performance, quirky dance moves, and ironic comments, like “Thanks for not staying at home and watching Game of Thrones… ’cause people like you understand reality.” The Game of Thrones comment, if you take it seriously, actually gave weight to Pitchfork‘s assertion that Bear in Heaven makes “indie rock for adults.” It implied that the band’s audience belongs to the age group that would more likely spend their Sunday night in front of the TV, than, say, run around with friends. And so what? Bear in Heaven’s move away from the hipster spotlight doesn’t make its music any less seductive.