Bear In Heaven’s I Love You, It’s Cool didn’t make a great first impression. Individually, each track is beautifully crafted, relentlessly high in energy and expansive in its densely synth-layered sound. But around halfway through my first listen, it all began to merge, no track felt distinctive. The relentless energy, huge soundscapes and overall mood persisted unchanging. Though just as boredom threatened to sink in, my reaction started to change. The albums sameness started to feel less like monotony and more like a single, powerful idea, a unidirectional force that speeds the listener through an explosive album to the final track, ‘Sweetness And Sickness’, where the album is softly drawn to a close. With my first impression ditched, I Love You It’s Cool became more engaging with each listen.
The band describe themselves as minimalist / pop / psychedelic, which certainly describes this album, not to mention its touches of Krautrock and dark wave. Not one track breaks the mold in this sense – all align to this amalgamation of influences – whilst the first 9 tracks remain pretty uniform in most other senses, too. For instance, the tempo never drops below dance floor level, whilst the massive, dense sound never gives way to something more delicate. Only the drums, giving them an unusually prominent role, punctuate this omnipresent wall of sound. This is heightened by the vocal’s distance in the mix, set back to the unobtrusive middle ground.
All these apparent certainties offered in the first nine tracks fall away with the albums final track, ‘Sweetness And Sickness’, a psychedelic six-minute come-down. For the first time the album’s pace drops dramatically and the texture becomes dreamily sparse. The song itself barely develops, instead a single musical idea repeats itself whilst reverb drenched waves of sound build until everything falls away, only to build back again for a short Terry Riley-esque organ solo, until the increasingly dreamy track loses consciousness altogether. It is a powerful change of pace and a peacefully climactic finish.
There are, however, a few highlights in the first nine tracks worth mentioning. ‘Noon Moon’, ‘Cool Light’ and ‘World Of Freakout’ stand out as the three most poppy tracks, whilst the rest allow a touch more deviance from the traditional pop framework. Though the whole album wears its early electronic influences on its sleeve, we find the most nostalgic sounds in ‘Warm Water’s’ choir-like synth and in the retro-futurist introduction of ‘Cool Light’.
Though easily criticized as samey, this album’s praise worthy qualities are found when viewed from a different perspective. It perhaps doesn’t suit the close listening that is offended by such sameness. It suits, however, utilizing its vast spacey-ness and lack of sharp mood changes, being an album that creates an atmosphere. I Love You, Its Cool is a fun, explosive album with an almost unrelenting energy. It gives it all it’s got until it stylishly lets go and ends in a place totally unexpected.