Bought on a whim, pleasantly surprised.
Zachary Valentine | Cassadaga, FL | 07/16/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Lately I've been looking for lesser known artists and less conventional music- A Band of Bees (or The Bees as they're known in Europe) fit the bill perfectly. They remind me a little of The Who. I read somewhere that the two singles on the album are "Listening Man" and "Who Cares What the Question Is", but I personally enjoy the more subtle, cool beat of "Got to Let Go" the most. However, there is not a single bad song on this album, though after the fourth track the songs get a little less than astounding until they pick back with the ninth track, "Hot One!", and goes out with a bang with the track "End of the Street". Anyone who is a fan of psychedelic rock, or just looking for a band who knows how to hold your ear, check this album out."
Let love be the reason between me and you
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 08/22/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Band of Bees has always specialized in sunshiney pop that sounds straight out of 1967.
Well, they're a bit less sunshiney in their third album, "Octopus," and this talented Britpop band mix up the vintage psychedelic pop with some other sounds. But fundamentally their music is still rich, neosixities pop, but given new spins that render it timelessly beautiful.
"Who cares what the question is/when all your love's in messages?/Glorious in tenderness/when they enter my mind/it's all you know," Paul Butler sings over vaguely countryish guitars and a squiggling keyboard, giving it the feeling of psychedelic alt-rock. That carries over into the southern "Love in the Harbour," with its harmonica and sensual seashore feeling.
But with the third song, we're into pure neo-psychedelic turf -- a dense pop tune full of sputtering Hammond and piano. It sets the tone for the rest of the album -- sleek shimmering hornpop, Halloweeny rock eruptions, joyously dancey psychedelica, vaguely jazzy psychpop, Spanish-style guitar ballads, and finishing up with the experimental "Hot One" and bouncy closer "End of the Street."
If "Octopus" has a flaw, it's that it's not as cohesive as the Band of Bees' past couple albums. Instead, it sounds like they're stretching their boundaries and exploring new styles, without losing their signature sound. They don't always succeed -- the first two songs are the weakest spot -- but when they stick to psychpop they are pure gold.
That's especially true because their psychpop has matured greatly since their last album -- the melodies are deeper and richer, even in the frothier songs. The solid percussion and driving guitars are wrapped in a colourful blanket of sputtering Hammond, rich wavering Rhodes, harmonica, blares of trumpet and sax to give it a carnival flavour, and the gentle ripple of your basic piano.
They even throw in some alarm bells and screeching tires in "Hot One" -- imagine how brilliant an entire album of that kind of pop would be.
With music that rich, it almost feels superfluous to mention that, oh yeah, there's some singing too. But Butler has a pleasant, smooth voice that tends to sink into the music, singing songs about being young and hopeful, or sixties-style odes to uncomplicated love ("Let love be the reason between me and you/As real as the morning, as fresh as the dew/If fate's got a hold then it's up to you/It's a simple thing we've got to do...").
"Octopus" has a somewhat weak start, but it rapidly blossoms into a little psychpop gem. This is music ideally suited for an autumn acid trip."
Mardi Gras and Carnival.....
Steven Draa | Pine Mtn. Club, Ca United States | 08/19/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The sounds of the bees second disc takes me away. Sounds of carnivals or mardi gras waft and wane.
This is a very pleasant disc to listen to, and given the right frame of mind, it can be almost epic.
There are few bands that conjure up the 60's and 70's the way that the bees do. The harmonies are stellar, and the songwriting is a hippies delight.
I would be hard pressed to find a reason why most peole wouldn't flip out for this release.
Do yourself a favor and check out the new Coral disc (roots & echos). they are right there with the bees.
Exhale and enjoy."