Hailing from the hotbed of mystery the Isle of Wight. Coming on like The Beach Boys scrapping with the Beta Band in Studio One. Includes the single 'Punchbag'. Exclusive U.S. version contains the bonus track, 'You Got T... more »o Leave'. Signed to Wall Of Sound (home of Royksopp, I Am Kloot, & Wiseguys). 2003.« less
Hailing from the hotbed of mystery the Isle of Wight. Coming on like The Beach Boys scrapping with the Beta Band in Studio One. Includes the single 'Punchbag'. Exclusive U.S. version contains the bonus track, 'You Got To Leave'. Signed to Wall Of Sound (home of Royksopp, I Am Kloot, & Wiseguys). 2003.
"If you could capture sunshine and somehow burn it into a CD, then it might sound something like the Bees' debut "Sunshine Hit Me." Tinged in places with reggae, psychedelica and funk, this is a pop gem that never lets up. If there were justice in the musical world, there would be more albums like this one.
The breezy "Punchbag" starts things, but the album only hits its stride with "Angryman," a charming pop tune that is heavily flavored with electric organ and funk. It also seems to sum up the album: the world is a pleasant place, and anger will be subdued by kindness. What bad things could I possibly say about such a song, if it's delivered well?
The prettiness and sunshine continue throughout the album, dotted by songs like the laid-back "This Town," and an Os Mutantes cover "A Minha Menina," which is done mostly on acoustic guitar. Here and there, the Bees also stray into eerie, almost experimental territory, full of watery clinking, rippling organ and jazzy beats. Theoretically they shouldn't fit together, but they do. Nor should the soft, sometimes ghostly vocals that can lament as well as uplift.
The most amazing thing about "Sunshine Hit Me" is that it was recorded in a shed -- specifically, The Shed, Pope's Cottage, Isle of Wight. It sounds more layered and polished than many studio albums. And rather than sounding like a pair of early twentysomethings, it sounds like a band that has been making this sunny, downtempo music for ten, maybe twenty years.
But Paul Butler and Aaron Fletcher win over their listeners by not trying too hard. Their music has that elusive 1960s retro-ness that many bands try to capture, but few manage to. It lies in the simple sentiments, the cheery tunes and the lush instrumentation -- woven together, they are utterly enchanting.
The cover by tropicalia band Os Mutantes is made up of fuzzy guitar, but it's about the only one that is. The resh of the album is awash in smooth organ tinged with piano, jazzy percussion and acoustic guitar. Just when the music is starting to get too grounded, the Bees add in a little woo-woo synth and some sweet vocal harmonies.
Somewhere between the Beach Boys and Stereolab lies the Bees, in their debut "Sunshine Hit Me." An underrated gem, this is one of those near-perfect pop albums that turn up every so often. Utterly enchanting."
Good Astralwerks CD!
Mr W. T. Reilly Jr. | Downingtown, Pennsylvania United States | 05/10/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It starts out like an Air cd, but ends up in places unexpected. There are some definite Donovan grooves here as well. A good chill-out album... but I do prefer a straight-up chill, and a straight-up psychadelica rather than a mix of the two. I've enjoyed the cd the couple times I've listened to it, but its not in heavy rotation."
MMMM... Summer goodness.
Ehud | Springfield, MO | 10/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I tend to be a fairly harsh critic of music, and as such I am very selective when it comes to deciding which tunes I will cram into my skull. I heard about Band of Bees from the weekly e-newsletter that Astralwerks sends to my inbox. Every now and then something in the new releases catches my eye. I went to Band of Bees's website to hear some audio clips and was immediatley hooked. To my dismay, none of the local music stores carried the album at that time. So I drove two hours to get to a store that did carry it. It was worth the effort. Sunshine Hit Me was an instant hit with my roommates and friends and even casual acquaintances. I shared it with anyone who would listen. Sadly, within six months of purchasing the album, it was stolen right from my living room(I take this as evidence of the albums appeal). Naturally, I went out and bought another copy. This album is one of the ultimate must-haves. If I was stranded on an island and could only take twenty albums, Sunshine Hit Me would undoubtedly be among them."
A good album with hints of greatness
Brian M. Benway | Madison, WI | 04/26/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"What's the buzz on the Bees' album? It's pure honey. These guys are a group of talents who know how to hook you with a groove and keep you entranced with a tremendous sound that's a little bit Zero 7 with a touch of Ween. The tracks are full without sounding overproduced, and the lyrics are wonderfully obtuse, reminiscent of the enigmatic lyrics of Steely Dan. Sunshine Hit Me is a solid album from front to back, and definitely worth a look!"
Sunshine Hit Me- Band of Bees
Brian M. Benway | 07/04/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Nice electic mix of Boards of Canada, WAR, Fela Kuti, antique Ska, and the Beach Boys. Kinda like riding in a beat up old car with dusted out windows on a hot day in the hood. Each song will satisfy some odd corner of your musical tastes. Takes a few listens to really appreciate all of the songs but you'll like the first three right off the bat."