New Music Review: beekeeper – BE KEPT/Take Me Back (To The Place)

Quirky.

Crazy.

Cool.

I could probably write this review using those three words to describe Vancouver’s own beekeeper and their LP BE KEPT,as well as their latest 7″ EP Take Me Back (To The Place).  I could, but I won’t, because although beekeeper are those three words in a musical nutshell, they’re worthy of many more words.  Words like fun, artistic, experimental, fun, melodious, bizarre, and fun also come to mind when pouring over the 13-song offering of BE KEPT and the 2-track Take Me Back EP (did I mention ‘fun’?).

BE KEPT opens up with the two most solid tracks—or my favourite, at least—on the album: Table and Bed and Sudden Cuckoo.  Lead singer, guitarist, and beekeeper mastermind, Devon Lougheed has an incredible knack for combining musical oddities with melodies; these two tracks are the best example where the melodies latch onto your eardrums and the bizarreness (is that even a word?) keeps you guessing what the hell is going to happen next.  Well, it left me guessing, at least.

Throughout the album, Lougheed’s lyrical and vocal quirkiness become a calling card of beekeeper, along with frantic song arrangements and time signature change-ups, much like… umm… well… Huh.  I’m genuinely stumped as to come up with a musical comparison for beekeeper.  Not that comparison reviews are worth much as the comparison is typically only in the eye of the beholder, but I don’t know if I could even put beekeeper in any kind of genre classification.  They are rock, but more so; alternative rock, yes, but not like any alternative rock you hear on the radio…

Could it be that their guitar-driven, cello-infused, frantic, melodious rock has spawned a genre of its own? Alt-Frantic-Cello Rock? Quite possibly (they describe themselves as a “post-pop musical action adorable fun times rock group”.. pretty spot on, actually).

But I digress…

One of the more surprising elements of Beekeeper is the fact that they are a trio.  Throughout the albums, it would be easy to write them off as a four- or five-piece band considering the sonic assault a majority of the album delivers; particularly on songs like Nice Lunch, Spider Webs/Insect Eyes, and Sudden Cuckoo from Be Kept,as well as both Bad Advice and Take Me Back from the EP.

During LP closer Last Words along with Drownings, the trio finds themselves at their most vulnerable; a rare moment in the continual barrage of awesomeness and musical diversity that many 3-piece bands fail to deliver.  The former is actually a radio-friendly jaunt featuring piano key plunks and some tame(r) vocals, and is also a song that you’ll—according to beekeeper—never see performed live.

All this being said, I’ve been struggling to write a review that I feel captures the essence that is beekeeper.  I still feel as though I’ve fallen short in describing their consistently contrasting blend of intense good-times music.

So.

Why don’t you just go listen to their music here and you tell me!   You can be the judge. And who knows, perhaps you’ll agree that those three words at the beginning of this review would have sufficed.  But probably not.

****beekeeper are finalists in the PEAK Performance Project Top 20 this year – a feat that could see them win $100,000! To find out more about the PEAK Performance Project, click HERE****

-Dylan

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~ by whet_hopped on September 8, 2012.

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