I listened to The Bear and The Sea’s latest album, Trees Like You, on a recommendation from a friend here at ViolentSuccess only to find that this album was inspiringly beautiful. It’s a masterpiece of instrumental electronic music, reminding me of that first time I listened to E*Vax’s Parking Lot Music in 2001; the kind of work that utilizes unique ideas as well as fond sensibilities of music, and the artist’s environment to create a signature sound. Consequently, it’s giving me the hardest time of writing this review, but I’ve figured out how to describe the world of this album: just look at the cover. I mean, really look at it. When you get around to listening to this album you’ll understand how this image fits so well with the feel of this atmospheric realm.
The first track, ‘My Fire Burns The Same’, does a good job of introducing you into the mellow setting, making you feel like just another small thing among the black isosceles mountains, wandering alone across the snow white earth until an origami beast shows up for a challenge, whereupon you must draw out your trusty paper sword in defense. Static-charged waves gently crash upon the the pulsating shores of a pad-like instrument; above that, the cry of birds amid a high register synthesizer. On either side of you is the crinkling sound of wet paper, most likely a drenched receipt from your last meal in the real world, a reminder that you are no longer there.
Maybe it’s the little boy in me who’s talking now, but I think what makes a good album is this sense of adventure in a foreign landscape. I say that because things are always happening and changing from one mood to the next, which is exciting and interesting. That’s not to say that this is the kind of music you’d want to fight dragons to, because for the most part it’s a very chilled and tranquil collection, but it’s not so relaxing that you’d grow bored enough to fall asleep at your desk. Take for example ‘Crystal Swords’, which after three minutes of two-step bass and snare hits, shifts into a new chord progression and rhythm style. The change is sudden and unbalancing, however appropriate, adding a new flavor, and making the song into more of a story.
Sure, some of these songs may seem repetitive in the moment that you’re listening to them, and there’s not a track on here that isn’t solid enough to stand on its own, but I think Trees Like You is an album meant to be listened to as a whole. This is to say that there’s no song that’s better than the other, they’re all great, which is nice to have in a record because then you don’t have to worry about hitting the skip button anytime you’re driving…10/10
*Previously Published on http://www.violentsuccess.com*