Bear in Heaven’s main gimmick is that they don’t have one. They’re just three unassuming, regular dudes living in Brooklyn who make grandiose, widescreen synth epics in 1080p. They’re as workman as a trio doing their best to max out your computer speakers with waves of Helm’s Deep bombast can be considered “workman.” They arrived very nearly fully formed on 2007’s Red Bloom of the Boom, and perfected their sound on 2009’s still great Beast Rest Forth Mouth. So it’s not surprising in the least that the band’s third album, I Love You, It’s Cool, is more of the same, an album that replicates the dauntless ballads and tsunami wave synth washes of Beast Rest Forth Mouth.
For better or worse, I Love You begins and ends with its irrepressible and impossible to ignore lead single, “Reflection of You.” It’s Bear in Heaven’s best song to date, a ever-climbing sing-along with the most ass-shaking beat the band have thrown down yet. The arc of Bear in Heaven might be how lead singer John Philpot has become increasingly willing to take the spotlight, letting his lyrics and rasping vocals sell the song as much as the stadium swaying music. It’s the kind of song that can launch bands into another level of fame. It even has a music video meant to be talked about; a true mark of a big time single.
While the rest of I Love You, It’s Cool can’t hit the highs of “Reflection of You,” the album runs deep with songs that beg to played in big rooms with a lot of people banging into each other. The sultry “Sinful Nature” is the most imminently quotable track on the whole album; you can expect “let’s get loaded, and make some strange things come true” to start filling cool kid Twitter feeds near you soon. Opener “Idle Heart,” meanwhile, sounds like the opening of a drugged-out space show, while “Noon Moon” sounds like a long lost Labyrinth soundtrack cut. The album runs out of steam in its back half, but with a first half so flawless, that’s forgivable.
I Love You, It’s Cool might not be that different from Beast Rest Forth Mouth, but it’s hard to shake the feeling that it will resonate in a way that Beast didn’t. A move up in the order of festival lineup announcements is due after this one. I Love You, It’s Cool prove Bear in Heaven’s 2009-10 success wasn’t a fluke, and given two years, they can deliver another album of ebullient jams. There are bands that get praised for reinventing themselves every time out. Bear in Heaven are not one of those bands. But as long as they keep making albums as sonically immersive, momentous sounding and downright fun as I Love You, It’s Cool, they don’t have to be.