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Art Bears - Hopes and Fears CD (album) cover


Art Bears



3.76 | 93 ratings

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Prog Metal Team
4 stars An excellent album that should not be heard by everyone and especially not on every occasion!

The debut album from Art Bears is merely a continuation of the already well established Henry Cow sound. The story goes like this - Hopes And Fears began as a Henry Cow album but the early sessions in Switzerland split the band due to some members dislike for a vast amount of song-oriented material. A compromise was reached when the members agreed upon splitting the material into two different releases. The song-oriented material was released under a new moniker, Art Bears, while the instrumental compositions would make up the final Henry Cow studio album.

This basically means that Hopes And Fears is as close to a Henry Cow record as one could ever get. Besides the fact that the band was comprised of Chris Cutler, Fred Frith and Dagmar Krause, we also get noteworthy contributions from Tim Hodgkinson, Lindsay Cooper and Georgie Born. The music is dominated by Dagmar Krause's haunting vocals and the instrumental arrangements which often remind me of the Residents due to their minimalistic approach that exists all throughout the album.

The most notable track out of this very mixed bunch comes right towards the end of side one with the 8+ minute thought-provoking suite called In Two Minds. It's difficult for me to understand how such a long composition can be almost entirely built around one chord but Art Bears completely nail that format and show that excellent music can come in all shapes and forms. Plus, the Pete Townshend-sounding guitar chords towards the chorus turn this tune into a complete masterpiece for me!

In Two Minds is an easy album to get into for beginners but it will take a while for it to expand beyond those initial stages of excitement and right into the excellent album I consider it today. There are definitely certain mood requirements for these kind of releases which make it strenuous to hear in passive receptive state. This is a perfect example of an active-listening album experience that should be an obligatory part of any Avant-Prog music collection!

***** star songs: In Two Minds (8:35) The Dance (5:08) The Pirate Song (1:10)

**** star songs: On Suicide (1:26) The Dividing Line (4:13) Joan (3:07) Maze (5:15) Terrain (3:54) The Tube (3:02) Labyrinth (2:20) Riddle (2:50) Moeris, Dancing (5:20) Piers (2:10)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |


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