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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Bearsuit: Oh:lo (2008)

I admit I’ve been dragging my feet. After some international delays in receiving Bearsuit’s Oh:lo from Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records all I heard was just pink noise. I stated in a review last week of the Spring Forward compilation and its songs sights set on kill, well, with Oh:lo Bearsuit aim to not only kill you but mutilate you and piss on your grave as well.

Oh:lo is frighteningly busy on half of the songs and destroys any of this UK band’s attempt at melody. I understand this is one of those “big bands” with tons of people standing around playing horns, drums, guitars and a few weird instruments you’d never be able to name, but seriously do we need the screeching vocals, dozens of incongruous keyboard lines or unhinged horns like on “Jupiter Force (Recruitment Video),” “More Soul Than A Wigan Casino” and “Shh Get Out”?

Thankfully, maybe for contrast, there are a some songs on Oh:lo that are a bit more focused and clever. My personal favorite is “Foxy Boxer,” a song that also reaches a sexiness with a rollicking sub-synth and when the girls sing, “Don’t underestimate the power of a punch from a foxy boxer,” it works because of a buildup to the line and when the line is finally uttered Bearsuit strip away everything but the vocals. It’s a cool and very effective moment.

Another well-channeled effort is the hilariously titled song, “Steven Fucking Spielberg.” It starts off with swells of violin obviously mimicking a film score, but it’s surprising how easily it molds and folds into the melody, eventually becoming the backbone of the song. This song is incredibly lush, but never overbearing like some of the other tracks on Oh:lo and the flute line throughout is sweet and gives us some of that Steven Spielberg hope that we all love.

“Stay Alive” ends Oh:lo quite effectively and like the previously discussed song it is lush but not overbearing, at least unintentionally. It’s a beautiful little coda with piano and harmonized boy/girl vocals at its core but allows the accordion, violin and horns to create an intense build that when stripped away, sublimely carries us off into the sunset.

My initial impressions of Oh:lo aside, Bearsuit is creating music that is worth noticing if only they would stop trying to cram as many instruments and singers as possible into one song. There are some gems here and as you should take notice of those gems, Bearsuit should as well.

Buy The Record On Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records!
Bearsuit on Myspace!

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