Sunday, August 7th, 2005
Sunday Cleaning – Volume 2
|The Bees / Free The Bees (Virgin)
The Bees’ (or Band Of Bees as they’re known in the US) second album, Free The Bees, is a slice of ’60s and ’70s throwback pop/rock/soul that sounds like a DJ set at one of the countless mod/britpop retro dance nights that litter this city or a long-lost AM radio station broadcasting from 40 years in the past. All perfectly listenable and sure to tickle the nostalgia bone for those who yen for all things retro, but I find it all somehow pointless. I already have my Beatles, Byrds and Motown records, and they’re better. There is no small amount of irony in a band paying tribute to their musical heroes by aping their sound and style when the intangible thing that made them so important and memorable in the first place was their inventiveness and originality. File under terrifically executed but ultimately redundant.
|Gang Gang Dance / God’s Money (The Social Registry)
This, on the other hand, I have no frame of reference for. If I were to make up a genre of music called Balinese synth-dance operettas, this would be the Rolling Stone essential album of that type. To say that it sounds like the soundtrack to one mightily fucked up dream would probably be taken as high praise by the creators. This is an album that I am sure someone out there loves and swears by. I am not that person. That person would frighten me, and probably fancy themselves far too cool to hang out with me anyway.
So I was looking for a third item to review for today and lo and behold, what’s this in my inbox? A MySpace friend request from an outfit out of Los Angeles called Meow Meow. Hi, Meow Meow – get in the ring. Lucky for them, their influence list reads like my CD collection – a healthy cross section of space rock, Americana and good old fashioned pop music. A good sign. Going track-by-track through the samples on their MySpace page, we have sun-kissed California melodies laid overtop either fractured Sparklehorse-y sound collages or late-era Primal Scream white noise squalls. Not all the elements blend as seamlessly as you might like, but the pieces fit closely enough together to create a pleasantly tilted landscape that doesn’t look entirely unlike the kingdom of The Flaming Lips. I approve. Their debut album, Snow Gas Bones, came out in 2004 on Devil In The Woods
np – Centro-Matic / Love You Just The Same