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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sunshine hit us, 25 Feb. 2006
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sunshine Hit Me (Audio CD)
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.
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Sunshine Hit Me
Sunshine Hit Me by The Bees (Audio CD - 2003)
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