Free the Bees

EMI/Virgin (UK import)

The Mamas & the Papas meet the Beatles and early Pink Floyd, open the Doors and party with the Monkees, while riding a late-model Buffalo Springfield and talking to the Byrds, at the same time shimmying with Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, throwing old Stones at the Standells, planting the Seeds and spreading Love after working out a few Kinks, but not before taking the 13th Floor Elevators to see Moby Grape, abandoning their Chocolate Watch Band for a Strawberry Alarm Clock, only to redeem their Box Tops while acting like Young Rascals looking for some Pretty Things.

Whereas the first album by The Bees was mainly a two-man, home-studio-recorded affair by Isle of Wight-based Paul Butler (vocals, guitar) and Aaron Fletcher (bass), “Free The Bees” is the work of a six-piece, recorded in three weeks at Abbey Road following two years of nearly solid touring.

The songwriting is even groovier, and the easy harmonies are still there, but the sound is not slicker as one might expect. It’s a case of more is less, as a self-imposed moratorium of 16 tracks was in effect at the recording desk — a move that positively enhances the retro vibe.

But don’t be put off by all this talk of old-fogy sounds. Music has always been about borrowing from the past to create something new, and in only two albums The Bees have distilled an intoxicating blend of musical spirits.

1. These Are The Ghosts
2. Wash In The Rain
3. No Atmosphere
4. Horseman
5. Chicken Payback
6. The Russian
7. I Love You
8. The Start
9. Hourglass
10. Go Karts
11. One Glass Of Water
12. This Is The Land

Total time: 43.9 minutes

External Links
artist’s website