The Bees - Octopus
Although I'd heard many things about the Bees' previous album 'Free the bees', this is actually my first experience with the band. I have to admit I'm really enjoying what I'm hearing.
Octupus comes across as a blend of 60's pop and 60's soul, with influences also from funkier 70's type soul and some psychedelia. They also remind me of that similarily 60's influenced band, the Coral.
Melodies are strong and there's a large collage of instruments which go into making up this thoroughly appealing whole. To top it off the sound and the vinyl pressing are really good. The sound seems to fill the room without ever being jarring or overwhelming. The coral for instance tend to be irritating after a while. ( I put this down to the sound quality rather than the music).
So probably the easiest way to walk through this album is compare each song to who it sounds like :)
1. 'Who cares what the question is' sounds just like a jaunty McCartney Beatles song.
2. 'Love in the harbour' is heading in Crosby Stills Nash or Doobie Brothers territory.
3. 'Left foot stepdown' sounds like a micture of a Coral sea shanty and teh Specials doing Ghost town. The trombone could have something to do with that.
4. 'Got to let go'? hmmm, a fabulous rhythm that sounds like it originate in teh carribbean, or possible in Brazil. Its a nice chill out vibe with rather silly lyrics....'I've got a job in texas......saving up for a lexus'. Its actually one of my favourites. Its got that whole carnival bibe going on, but we're not too far away from teh specials again :).
5. 'Listening man' is a rip off straight from an early 60's soul singer, but I can't work out who. Is it Otis Redding, early Marvin Gaye? Possibly Jackie Wilson? Someone help me :)
On to side two....do you remember the days when every record had ten tracks???
6. 'Stand' not by your man, well maybe. By the singer's side. Sounds a bit like the Coral. Who do the coral sound like? The flute and the ghostly harmony makes this quite a psychedelic sounding track.
7. '(This is for the) better days'. Am I hearing a steely dan influence here? I didn't expect that one.
8. 'The Occuralist'. Something to do with the sea it seems. For some reason as well the singer starts warbling on in spanish. This lends to the Brazil like theme from earlier. A bit of south american jazz, mixed up with some syd barrett. It all sounds a bit sweet, a bit whimsical. There's even a few 'woo oo oo's floating about.
9. 'Hot one'. Title says Billy Idol. Music says territory between maybe the rolling stones and the beatles, at their most drug addled.
and finally 10. 'The end of the street' appropriately ends the album. Sames a number nine. cross between 'Ob li do' and ,I am the walrus,.
Variously, you could also detect the likes of the Kinks and the small faces in the bees' record collections.
The music loses a point for its lack of originality but really you're likely to enjoy this album. There's plenty going on and its packed with melodies and a lot of fun. Sound quality is very good and sounds entirely natural and analogue. you listen to it rather than say 'wow!'. Its pressed on about 160grm vinyl. My first copy had a mild warp so I returned it and the new copy has a slight warp too. Its not affecting play though. Outer and inner picture sleeves.