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A Laugh A Minute.
on 3 October 2004
The Isle of Wight probably isn't the first place you'd think of if you were asked to name a hotbed of musical invention. But if there are many more bands like The Bees knocking around there, it might soon be.
I've heard of a few artists being cited as likely influences on this album, from The Monkees (fair enough) to Ocean Colour Scene (never in a million years) to Sonny and Cher (erm....). But whatever The Bees have been listening to (and I'd guess it's Rubber Soul, Pet Sounds and Ogden's Nut Gone Flake as well as all kinds of other classic '60s pop and psychedelia), they must have pretty good taste.
This is a fine record, veering from the sublime poppiness of 'These Are The Ghosts' or the harder edge of 'Horsemen', to the totally barmy 'Chicken Payback' and the organ driven, pseudo-reggae grooves of 'The Russian'. And that's just the first half of the album.
Free The Bees is one of those albums that sounds like lots of things you've heard before, but simultaneously not quite like anything else. There are lush, harmony drenched tunes like 'This Is The Land' where there is an unexpected discordant guitar and piano thrown in. Then there's the clipped, strutting pop of 'Hourglass', with its lazy, laid-back guitar solo and woodwind accompaniment, followed by the fairground psychedelia of 'Go Karts'. Every song seems to have some new delight waiting for you.
This is an album made in the finest traditions of British Pop and Rock dating back to the whimsy of Syd Barrett and The Kinks and through to more recent acts like The Bluetones and The Beta Band. A riot.