Well, I loved Sunshine Hit Me
. Loved it, and was reluctant to see these guys change anything at all for their follow-up set.
The changes consist of adding a couple of members, so now The Bees are a band 'proper'. The home studio from which they got such a good sound for Sunshine Hit Me
has been abandoned for now, in favour of recording Free The Bees
at Abbey Road.
This is an album with such an authentic 1960's sound you could be forgiven for thinking it was actually recorded in the 60's. Now, we've had attempts at this kind of thing numerous times before, of course - XTC posing as The Dukes Of Stratosphear, for example. The thing with that project was you could tell it was actually recorded in the 1980's, certain aspects of the sound betrayed the intentions. Not so with the majority of Free The Bees -
it sounds so authentic, it beggars belief.
Just as before, Free The Bees
contains a diverse mix of songs - some serious, some silly, others a combination of both. A variety of styles are covered, although the emphasis here is more akin to 1960's psychedelia. It sounds as if Free The Bees
was recorded in 1968 - post 'Summer Of Love' - with all that implies.
So, my favourites here? Well, "I Love You" is a stunning soul ballad with an absolutely incredible vocal. "These Are the Ghosts" takes a little while to seep its way into your mind, but when it does, chances are you won't be able - or want to - get rid of it. The 'catchiness' of this song is somewhat clever ... there's not an obvious chorus, but there is one, the vocals are back in the mix, the instrumentation is that of a full garage band performance (albeit in laid-back mode). Still, there's clashing cymbals, lots of guitar, and a bassline that pins the song together melodically. As you can perhaps tell, it's sometimes difficult to describe the exact effect the music of The Bees actually has.
by Reviewer: Adrian Denning
(blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews