Beast Rest Forth Mouth

Band: Bear in Heaven
Album: Beast Rest Forth Mouth
Best song: “Ultimate Satisfaction” is amazing.
Worst song: “Dust Cloud” goes on for way too long.

There are some records that are easily defined. Some are pleasant, some are jangly, some are dark, some are hard, whatever. Some records are not as easy to define; the complexity of Isis’ Panopticon remains now in its metal sludge, but in its ability to rise above such things. The only piece of perfect recorded art is great because it’s many things at once.

It would be easy to give an expanded explanation as to why Beast Rest Forth Mouth — a titular play on the cardinal directions — is many things, but I’m not sure it is. Among the accolades it has received, count Pitchfork and Drowned in Sound as complete slurpers of the BRFM; both gave the record distinction of being one of the best albums of 2009. The comparison to Yeasayer probably isn’t off, nor are the Deerhunter comps. No doubt, BRFM is a strikingly interesting record, one that sticks in your head while listening. It’s layered and it’s an odd combination of complex and simple, with vocal melodies that don’t confuse coupled with prog-rock keyboards (see “Ultimate Satisfaction” for the grand example).

With all of that said, BRFM is easily described in one word: Mesmerizing. Like looking into one of those Magic Eye drawings, the keyboard layering on the record is hypnotizing as the best psychedelic records tend to be. This isn’t some Fleet Foxes shit. This is music that is completely swirling. No twee. No hard Floyd-riffs. Just electronic beeps and boops, with thumping rhythms, making for “Drug a Wheel” to sound like a dissociative trip.

It’s easy to get lost in BRFM. Because of the nature of the music, it isn’t easy to get where one song ends and the next begins and, more importantly, some of the songs appear forgettable. The single, “Lovesick Teenagers,” left essentially no impression on my brain. But, songs like “Ultimate Satisfaction,” “You Do You” and the superb album opener “Beast in Peace” make up for the rest.

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    I'm Ross Jordan Gianfortune. I am not a writer, but I sometimes write here about music and my life. I live in Washington, DC.

    I used to review each of Rolling Stone Magazine's top 500 albums of all time. Now I'm writing about albums I own.

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