Bearsuit - OH:IO
Review By: Joe


The fun thing about liking a newish band is that, unless they suffer the misfortune of pulling a Weezer (as it's commonly known), with each successive album, you get to listen to them progress from being pretty cool to dick-kickingly awesome (as it's commonly known). Bearsuit is such a band. They've had three albums to date. I'm afraid I would say that the first one, Cat Spectacular!, is frankly just not that impressive. There's a handful of standout tracks (and they are very good indeed), but, by and large, I would say most of the music is just too silly. The second album, Team Ping Pong, is basically a bunch of great songs, some pretty good ones, and a few pretty forgettable ones. This leaves us with the new album, OH:IO, which is stellar!

I think it is fair to say that Bearsuit's music has always been a balancing act between really pretty melodies and insane cacophony. Such a balance is not the easiest thing to pull off, but, with this new album, they've simply refined it. Trumpetness, flutery, and violining (as they're commonly known) are effortlessly blended with guitar feedback, thrashing chords, and lots of screaming. It's a truly amazing sound; I find it so cool that songs like Keep It Together, Somehow (one of my favez), for example, are so sweet sounding, whilst still containing a fair amount of females shouting and portions with a noise that sounds rather like an alarm clock (which is usually just about the most annoying sound there is, but, here, works).

There's really just a lot of interesting stuff here that I don't hear any other bands doing. There's what I suppose I'd refer to as screaming harmonization, meaning there's multiple people screaming (the band consists of six people, three ladies and three gents) in a way that they actually compliment one another. This seems like a bizarre concept to me, musically, and it's awesome that it works so brilliantly. Also, the songs go through so many transitions and contain so many voices and instruments harmonizing that it makes me think of classical music, only about a thousand times faster and a bajillion times noisier. The best examples of this are probably Mission Io Must Not Fail and Hark! The Feral Children and it's worth noting that these two tracks are incredibly dissimilar.

This is a really great album. There are no songs I dislike, only ones that I prefer, and the majority of them could, in my mind, easily be singles just as much as the ones the band picked out, except maybe the last track, Stay Alive (inspired by the Frankie Muniz vehicle of the same name!?) just because it's so short, which I don't really understand. It's a really beautiful sounding song that basically ends before it even begins. Other than that, however, I think my only complaint would be that there's not too much in the way of violins on this album (I think they are pretty much confined to the song Steven Fucking Spielberg). Hey, I like violins.

Bearsuit is a British band and I'm happy to say that, because I am draining my parents' bank account by doing a masters course in the UK, I was just recently able to go see them in Manchester. Apparently, they are planning to vacate this country to head for the land of opportunity (and shit exchange rates), the U.S. Americas. According to one of the band members, Lisa, they currently all have day jobs and want to be able to quit that junk and rock out exclusively. They're calling this their last British tour so, from the sound of it, if I'm not mistaken, the whole damn band (that's six of them! six!!) is moving overseas to our fat, angry country! That is goddamned dedication to the music, man.

Now, although I totally support them in this matter and really, really hope everything works out for them, I have to admit I worry about these kids. I'm not sure I see how they'll integrate into our predomniantly pisspoor music climate with their radical approach to musicology (as it's commonly known) and their general upbeat demeanor. But I shall do what I can to help them out and that consists pretty much of saying this:


Listen, they dress up in silly costumes and play lovely yet ass-slappingly rockin' music with flutes and violins and hand claps and there's a girl in a mini-skirt jumping around and songs about topless titty boxing and all they wanna do is make you dance and have fun!!! They are, in my infallible opinion, one of the best bands around right now, so, open your hearts, you jerks! Buy the new album, because it's wonderful, then go see Bearsuit when they come to your town and enjoy yourself. Frankly, at one of their shows, I don't see how you can't.


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