If there is a consistent quality which identifies the output of Bearsuit Records it is a refusal to conform. Assembling musicians from around the world, it’s refreshing that independent labels continue to put out music that immediately demands your attention even if the response is not always positive. Jimmy Rosso could be described as a typical Bearsuit artist. As well being a member of punk-rock-classical collective DOLLYman, he is also a composer, cellist, keys player and vocalist. Even taking those facts into account, this electronica-based release is weirder than you can imagine.
‘Anything Goes’ echoes its title as shifting soundscapes merge with mournful strains of cello, distorted vocals and what sounds like a percussion section based on kitchen equipment. The question is, though, is it any good? The answer is, on the whole, “yes” but there are caveats. The songs or instrumental pieces generally work better when there’s at least one instrument maintaining consistency. ‘Undone’ has such a clarity about it, chiefly thanks to its melancholic cello melody keeping it afloat, ‘Held’ bubbles with mystery courtesy of eerie glitchy beats and atmospherics whilst the brilliant final song ‘Home’ is unusually old-fashioned, warm and comforting. On the flipside of the coin, not even a desolate sequence of piano keys can quite save ‘If There Was A Place’ from a descent into madness but the equally crazed ‘Ripped’ fares better due to its multiple layers of instruments working together in unison.
Rosso, like so many of his fellow labelmates, is another ideas man but one who needs to occasionally be reined to formulate those ideas into more more clarity and more of the addictive qualities which make the listener come back begging for more. That said, most of these tracks work better on record than they have any right to do on paper and Rosso and his producer Owain Rich deserve immense credit for that.