Trolling through endless review material to ascertain a flavour of what the furry sextet had to offer, the same buzzwords appear time again so much so that if we were to get our Staedtler highlighter out for the occasion there would be a florescent rainbow of ‘twee’ and ‘high fructose’ scrawled across our jotters.
Nevertheless, with a new year, a drastic band reformation and musical re-orientation comes a new Bearsuit. Gone are the brass and strings in favour of a decisively hipster set of techno-rhythms and synthesizers. The band, in steely competition with the Sugababes for most line-up changes, returns with their fourth album The Phantom Forest. Rising from the ashes of their former indie-laden sweet tooth melodies first championed by long-serving BBC1 DJ John Peel, they return with an abrasive new sound which strives to make easy bedfellows of the punk and dance genres.
Regrettably, despite a noble attempt, the band has stumbled into the jaws of the dance-punk bear-trap alongside the countless bands that had their fleeting 60-seconds of fame when the first season of Skins reinvigorated the adolescent craving for glow stick bulk buys and neon shades. Reminiscent of new-rave favourites These New Puritans and Cajun Dance Party, Bearsuit attempt to tap into the same gene pool and bring about the dominance and cult following which those previous outfits lost their grapple of.
This album has occasional glimmers of promise, most notably in opening track ‘Princess, you’re a test’ maintaining a taste for their art culture roots but sprinkling it with guitar chaos, but regardless, Bearsuit have missed the new-wave boat that was revelling in success five years ago. It is a noteworthy attempt but this will not be an album to make a roar in the art rock music scene.