It didn’t take Iain and Lisa et al of Bearsuit very long to realise that the world really isn’t quite as beautiful as it should be. So they formed a band, and in doing so made the planet just that little better. Because Bearsuit make beautiful songs about a world which is as beautiful as this one should be.
Fantasy and escape strongly inform Bearsuit’s vocabulary, as the b-sides to their debut single ‘Hey Charlie, Hey Chuck’ perfectly demonstrate. In both ‘Hovercar’ and ‘Fears of Moonpilot Ben’ fictional vehicles are relied upon as means to salvation. Because nothing in the real world is that dependable. And because Hovercars are a lot cooler than Ford Mondeos.
It’s the a-side that demonstrates genuine brilliance. The sleevenotes ask us to ‘imagine what the death of Charles Schultz would have sounded like if it hadn’t been for censorship…’. Which is a queer question, admittedly. But Bearsuit do a fairly good job of crafting some gorgeous sounds from the palpable sense of betrayal that Schultz’s passing created. With Peanuts, and Charlie Brown in particular, Schultz created the most astonishing portrait of wistful melancholia, streching the ephemeral appeal of the cartoon strip across half a century. There’s something perfect about the life of Charlie Brown, his failure in love and life, his insignificance even in his own cartoon strip, his heartsickness is the perfect form our sorrows are pale reflections of.
And in this way Bearsuit’s world preserves some of the magic of Charlie Brown’s. It might have felt wrong that Schultz should have to die, perhaps he should have been ‘the saviour of our world’ as Bearsuit tell us. But it was never going to turn out as it should have done.
‘Hey Charlie, Hey Chuck’ puts this right, even if this is only in fiction. Dreamy, slightly disorganised verses, held together by bright keyboards and acoustic guitars, offer the song a delightful, stomach melting mixture of excitement and anxiety. There’s no chorus as such, but short bursts of dischordant noise offer the song further restless vitality. Male and female vocals mix, it’s like every pop song should be. It temporarialy erases the more unpalatable parts of being alive. It’s a bit like both The Only Ones and Sonic Youth. It throws itself from the walls, and makes you want to do the same.
And, yes, Bearsuit will never come close to saving our world. But I’d love to take a hovercar to theirs.
8Mark Taylor's Score