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Album Review

Though Bearsuit have been active since 2001, Oh: Io is only their second proper album. (2005's Team Ping Pong was a compilation of single and EP tracks.) Six years on, the band's dizzying blend of influences, from Deerhoof-like hyperactive noise-rock spazz-outs ("Jupiter Force (Recruitment Video)," "Dinosaur Heart") to horn-driven new wavish pop with male/female vocals ("More Soul Than Wigan Casino," oddly reminiscent of Dexys Midnight Runners circa Searching for the Young Soul Rebels) to lush semi-orchestral twee pop like a more energetic version of Belle & Sebastian (album highlight "Steven F***ing Spielberg") makes as little logical sense as ever. And yet the seven-piece, multi-instrumentalist collective somehow manage to cohere their disparate influences just enough to make Oh: Io an often thrilling and only occasionally exasperating listen. At times, the band veers a little too far towards incoherent noise, especially when keyboardist and singer Lisa Horton starts shrieking at the top of her range, but most songs on Oh: Io are a little more carefully structured than the band's early efforts, with a stronger focus on arrangements and orchestration than before on songs like the impressively over the top sci-fi chamber pop "Miss IO Must Not Fail" and the brash, spunky dance-rock of "Foxy Boxer." Fans of similarly eclectic acts like Envelopes, Family Fodder, or Architecture in Helsinki will find much to enjoy here.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

U.K. indie collective Bearsuit combine punk, disco, and pop into an infectious and energetic art rock stew complete with outlandish stage gear. Formed in 2001, the group consists of Cerian Hamer (violin/cornet/percussion), Lisa Horton (vocals/keyboards/accordion/percussion), Matt Hutchings (drums/percussion), Matthew Moss (bass), Jan Robertson (flute/guitar/percussion), and Iain Ross (vocals/guitar)....
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Oh:io, Bearsuit
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