Sometimes, I’ll listen to an album and not really hear it. Actually, that happens a lot. But every once in a few months I’ll be left with a lingering impression that I missed something, something I don’t want to miss, so I’ll listen again, carefully. That was the case for Beekeeper. As I listened to it over and over (and over), certain strong songs began to emerge: The dizzying melodic shifts and way out of whack harmonized vocals of “Dead and Drugged.” The relaxed low pace of “Watching You Die.” The shattered guitar jangle that opens “Dying Day,” followed by an oddly accented rumble of bass, guitar and bassist Karla (ex-Ida) Schickele’s clear voice.
That’s three songs about the dirt nap, isn’t it? Maybe. Beekeeper’s lyrics are oblique sometimes, as is their playing and sense of song. The trio manages to make itself as difficult to pigeonhole as stuffing a ten-pound cat in a five-pound sack. These songs proved to be only the obvious choices, as the album revealed a complex and shifting character, and right now, I can’t find a single second that shouldn’t have been recorded.
You can always take a lot of sharply dissonant guitar, a hefty dose of math rock, and a good touch with the optigan, and it would sound interesting, but Beekeeper make it sound unique. Quite a find!
No animals were harmed in the writing of this review. Southern Records, P.O. Box 577375, Chicago, IL 60657; http://www.southern.com