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A Band of Bees 

Free the Bees

Wednesday, Jun 29 2005
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When the Bees released their debut in 2002, it was under a wash of comparisons to the like-minded Beta Band, with which they share an affinity for bombed-out '60s rock and Lee Perry-style dub antics. However, the Bees pushed farther out into the pop world, turning their songs into blustery gems that were as smart and as self-referential as any British rock band's ought to be. That, and they did a cover of a tune by the Brazilian freak-beat/art-pop group Os Mutantes that was actually really good. On Free the Bees, the band pushes things even farther out into the pop history books, grabbing big, hearty handfuls of northern soul, doo-wop, Rufus Thomas, rocksteady, and all the British Invasion bands that you could possibly think of salivating over. The tracks were all recorded down at Abbey Road, and you can practically smell the haircuts bobbing on the ridiculously dead-on Studio One-style jam "The Russian." Sure, it's just pastiche with vintage equipment that'll appeal to anyone who likes the Animals or the Kinks or Oasis "when they were good," but there's more than a little bit of muscle underneath the songs that makes them worth rallying behind. >

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Jon Pruett

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