Supposedly, the stegosaurus wasn’t real but rather a transitional evolutionary piece in the dinosaur puzzle. That might be a complete fabrication, but thinking about it does make me realize a few key things about my previous life: 1) Billy, from Power Rangers, would technically be up shit creek, 2) sucks for all those artists who drew life-like stegosauri (stegosauruses?) into paintings, pictures, and textbooks, and 3) it makes me realize that certain bands should be considered “transitional” more that a “this-or-that” type band.
Sea of Bees is a mix between the former-”it”-sound (folk and ghastly) and the newest “it” sound (driving vocals meets some sort of experimental or pop vibe [experimental: see Joanna Newsom; indie pop: see Best Coast]). Between the cascading differences of what is in at the moment, Adam Finley (one of our staffers) said something interesting to me this past week. Some albums do slip through the cracks, may it be because we see other albums in priority to them or because of their transitional sound, but in the end sometimes it takes a special appreciation for that pinch-hitter or special-teams-core player to really be a game changer for the entire team. Enter Sea of Bees.
Some would say this is the female equivalent of Mike Kinsella, except less on the intricate guitar-work and more on the intricate vocal-work. Her live shows seemingly consist of herself, even though her album shows a very studio (very polished) sound, accompanied by several instruments and synths. Much like Kinsella, her live show seems to promise just as much as her album shows. The album itself is a mix between the indie-folk sound of the old and a vocal punch from the new. It might be pressed to say that this would be a great transition from something like Heather Duby’s past albums to Joanna Newsom’s newest album, but I feel that this has a spot somewhere to shout.
Much like the supposed stegosaurus, if this is just a band or artist to woo me over until the next artist, I really would rather just cut this album up on a playlist and never throw on all 11 songs in sequential order again. Although, the difference between the stegosaurus and Sea of Bees’ Songs for The Ravens is that the stegosaurus was real and then proposed false whereas Songs for The Ravens is definitely real and not proven false. However, what makes this case special is that this album bridges both old indie folk with new indie-pop vocal, and it is hard to decide which side to go with. People looking for new music will see straight to the indie-folk and be done with this. People who want that indie-pop vocal vibe will hear the tone of the folk and be turned off. I wouldn’t exactly call this glorified coffee shop music, but it’s hard to stick it on a shelf next to anyone without looking awkward.
On one hand, crisp. On the other, worn. It’s like left-overs from a 5-star restaurant. It’s the best reheated food you’ll ever have in your life… but it’s reheated left-overs. I’m no chef, but I’m a fan of these guys. Well, girl… as the live show seems. I feel that another album or the next musical evolutionary step would turn me on to Sea of Bees a lot. I do enjoy this for what it’s worth, but it’s a little more past than present.