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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of '07
I first heard the Bees through their second album, Free the Bees, and thought these are quite good. Then I went to their first, Sunshine Hit me, and thought these are amazing. Now I have brought this album and have run out of superlatives. The Bees produce wonderful pop music with loads of variation and invention which really is as good as anything created by their more...
Published on 7 May 2007 by JDB11

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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bees
Trying too hard to cover as many styles as possible without injecting any personality or anything that sets them apart from the sort of pap you hear at a beer festival. They get a star as they made me tap my foot when i wasn't concentrating.... i'm off now with my bontempi keyboard to form a band and send my own rubbish efforts to their record company to recoup some of...
Published on 29 Aug 2008 by I. M. WOOD


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of '07, 7 May 2007
By 
JDB11 (East Anglia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Octopus (Audio CD)
I first heard the Bees through their second album, Free the Bees, and thought these are quite good. Then I went to their first, Sunshine Hit me, and thought these are amazing. Now I have brought this album and have run out of superlatives. The Bees produce wonderful pop music with loads of variation and invention which really is as good as anything created by their more popular contemporaries.

It is perhaps the variety of influences and the skill with which they are put together that really makes this album good. Take the third track, Left Foot Step Down, which could almost be dub with its hint of a reggae beat and heavy use of production effects. The next, Got to Let go, has an irrestistable jazz hook and an infectious happiness that had me nodding my head completly involuntarily. Further on we have track eight, the Ocularist, which has, I believe, some Spanish lyrics, and a sitar. Such a mad combination could have fallen flat on its face but somehow the Bees have crafted them together perfectly.

Lyrically they are also good. Though slightly nonsensical they don't push the boundary and become pretentious, largely because of the warm feeling that the album creates.

This work is quitte easily the best i have heard this year. It is brilliant pop psychedilia and refreshingly upbeat. The Bee's are easily the best band the Isle of Wight has produced and are one of the most talented British bands around in my opinion. Furthermore this truely is their masterwork thus far. In my mind they showed fabulous promise with Sunshine Hit me but were comparitively disappointing with Free the Bees, indicating that perhaps they had peaked early. Octopus suggests they could go on to be a truely fantastic band.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Bees Return, 12 May 2007
By 
William Warren (Gringley-on-the-Hill, South Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Octopus (Audio CD)
Having buzzed onto the indie scene in 2001 with the cult summer classic "Sunshine Hit Me", it's good to see the expanded Bees heading back to their IOW roots and recording what should have been the follow-up. Arguably this album is like a nice twist of the best of "Free the Bees" and "Sunshine Hit Me", and so presents the usual aural treat that Bees fans have come to expect. Cracking harmonies, chilled beats, tripped-out lyrics and 60's dub- welcome to one of British music's best-kept secrets.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Honey for the Bees, 2 April 2007
This review is from: Octopus (Audio CD)
I'd not actually heard of the Bees before. Not until I heard "Listening Man" played on Radio 4 one day and I thought, "I quite like that".

So I bought the album not really knowing what I was going to get.

I am still getting used to the genre of music. It's not "normal" and it's certainly not "pop". It's like a mixutre of Bob Dylan (without the vocals and harmonicia) and some other 60's icon I can't quite put my finger on.

If I'm being totally honest with you, it actually sends me back to being a kid and listening to "Folk in the Park" which was a gathering of hippies, kids and muscial instruments on hot summer Sundays in (yes you guessed it), the park. The album has that kind of lazy, unrushed, cider scented vibe about it.

Still. It's worth buying if you want something a bit different or at least want to increase your listening scope to beyond the plastic nonsense of X Factor replicas.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Bees - Octopus, 13 Jun 2007
By 
R. Thane "The Line Of Best Fit" (Ipswich, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Octopus (Audio CD)
Recent months have proven slightly dissapointing for second albums. The Rakes, Bloc Party, Maximo Park, Razorlight and The Killers all not hitting the mark, all losing the edge of their debuts. The Bees however, never had that problem. Their 2004 sophomore album Free The Bees was a huge success artistically, transforming the band into 60's revivalists but somehow still managing to sound totally relevant.

Never one to fit into any one musical genre, The Bees have really found their feet with their third offering Octopus. In the solace of their own basement studio in the Isle Of Wight the band have cooked up an album of understated excellence. Mixing up soul, ska and funk to produce an album of shimmering beauty that grows with each listen. There is a new found confidence to each of the ten tracks on display here. The musical genres sit together seamlessly, from the sixties funk (mariachi style) of Got To Let Go to the gorgeous, lilting soul of Listening Man which, in a just world would be a sure fire hit. The folkiness of Love In The Harbour nestles up perfectly with the dub workout of Left Foot Stepdown, whilst the albums only clanger End Of The Street comes complete with comedy sound effects.

What intrigues and fascinates me most about this album is the quality of the production. It actually sounds like it was produced in another era, the vintage sound has to be heard to be believed. The range of styles and influences on display never seem forced or contrived, the band are doing what comes naturally to them and it is a joy to behold. This is the sound of a band feeling totally comfortable in their own skin.

Richard Thane

[...]
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Year Of The Octopus, 26 Mar 2007
By 
Richard Byham "Exiled Caulkhead" (Portsmouth UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Octopus (Audio CD)
Hands up who likes good music...... thought so, a lot of you. (The two Bros fans can stop reading now). Yup, those who are familiar with The Bees will know what to expect from their latest disc of musical delights. All the songs have their own individual sound and charm, and yet still having all the Bees trademarks. A hint of Hammond organ, a whiff of slide guitar, a splash of sax and some drums.

Ah, yes... brings me back to the time i first heard Free The Bees, it shares the same sorta vibe. You know, you get to the end of the disc and think " That was gooood....shall I let it carrying on playing a second time?" and yes, it would be rude not to.

There is room in everyone's collection for the Octopus, and room in your heart for The Bees.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Let love be the reason between me and you, 29 Aug 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Octopus (Audio CD)
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Genuinely Unique soulful upbeat summer Music, 4 April 2014
This review is from: Octopus (Audio CD)
This is one of those rare albums that doesn't rightly sound like anything that I've ever heard before. The Bees got lumped into the 'indie' category, which didn't really do them any favours. While its true that previous albums had a style that was more akin to 'indie' on previous efforts (particularly 'Free The Bees'), this album looses that style completely. It sounds like a band spreading their wings and soaring majestically into new territory. This album has slide guitar, soulful harmonies, jazzy brass instruments, 60s psychedelia and ska/reggae offbeat...and it works! It has a remarkable summer vibe and it is both relaxing and yet cheery and upbeat. Its Latin sounding songs like 'left foot stepdown', 'got to let go' or 'listening man' are truly unique in the world of music (that I am aware of). There are always moments that sound familiar, but I've never heard music of such vastly different styles mixed into single songs with such apparent ease. If I could liken it to anything that I've heard it would be 'War - The World is a Ghetto' if only for its soulful style and Latin influences. The albums does unfortunately loose focus in its last two songs, which are rather mediocre by comparison, but there is still a good 35 minutes of terrific music to enjoy and I could not give it less that a solid 5 stars.

Sadly The Bees faded into obscurity, being grouped with musicians that had a fraction of the innovation that these guys had. This remains their best work in my opinion and while I don't think that their other albums are essential, this one certainly is.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A belter, 25 April 2011
This review is from: Octopus (Audio CD)
This is an absolute cracker of an album, by far and away their best release to date. Full of rock, funk, jazz and soul, this has little bits of everything in just the right proportions. These guys are so talented and versatile in the number of different instruments that they can play. Really great, great stuff and definitely one of the best albums released that year, absolutely brilliant and well worth a listen. If you've never heard of The Bees before, I heartily recommend this album and obviously if you're a fan then you probably don't need any more persuasion. Buy it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true gem, 30 Mar 2007
By 
M. Godenho "mg" (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Octopus (Audio CD)
This is my kinda album. It's original and fun and upbeat and friendly and etc...

"Who Cares what the question is" is the first track and it's bluegrass/trippy/americana/psych/folk/rock

Beautiful. Then the sound developes into dub and more weird and wonderful genres. It reminds me a little bit of New Zealand dub music in places. It's def a summertime album, yet warm and deep enough to be enjoyed anytime.

The later tracks sound like something out of a Sergio Leone type wild west mexican stand off ...and they mix this with trippy dub styles that will either leave you smiling or tapping your toes till they get cramp.

WOW!

I can't recommend this album highly enough. I only heard their first single and I thought BRILLIANT. I took a chance on the album and it's a decision I don't think I will ever regret.

This is by far one of the best albums I have purchased in the last 2 years. I can't wait to go back and check out their other previous albums.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bees are back!, 25 April 2007
This review is from: Octopus (Audio CD)
It's the hippy season again folks. The Bees are back. Who? You ask. How dare you! The band that brought the infectious `Chicken Payback' to our lives are humming around the country again, and you better watch out, they sting.

Now we've exhausted all the witty play on words - back to the Album. It seems that every band you see claims this very album is the best they've ever made. Even though they said it for the last record (oasis springs to mind). This is the one - they say. However you can't deny that those very albums were extremely special. This is why we buy 'Octopus'. After leaving their last tour in a half empty Brixton Academy, Paul Butler and co are back.

There will be no crowd surfers, "moshing" or even heavy jumping. But from the back of one of their gigs I can see plenty of head swaying. Such is the nature of the music.

New single `Who Cares What the Question Is'. A song that equally as infectious as anything they've ever done.

The Bees have their own style, and this is it. I love the Bees, one of 'my' bands. They are critically acclaimed (i havnt read one bad review), respected in the music world. But they dont sell records. Lets change that. This is better than most albums this year.
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Octopus
Octopus by The Bees (Audio CD - 2007)
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