The Bees
Free the Bees
(Virgin/EMI)
The Bees are the new hype from across the pond, just coming in to save the day before Franz Ferdinand once again becomes a slain prince. Free the Bees, released to typical acclaim last year in England, takes sounds — that are all too familiar, really — from 1968, but manages to arrange them in a fresh and exciting manner. The Isle of Wight duo incorporates some Stax soul (“Chicken Payback”), then some late ’60s Kinks and Small Faces with a dose of the pyschedelic San Francisco and LA. From the opening “Wash in the Rain” to the closer “This is the Land,” it works without coming off as yet another float in the parade of sloppy wannabe Beatles records. Free the Bees, if nothing else, is more eclectic than anything so far this year.
—Trevor MacLaren

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