CD REVIEW: A Band of Bees

Free the Bees Astralwerks
Music ••• Sound •••
To their credit, the Bees are more adept than most at cross-pollination. Blatantly (yet lovingly), they swarm over the sonic landscape of the 1960s and '70s. From the Byrds-meet-Oasis wash of "These Are the Ghosts" to the funky Tijuana brashness of "Chicken Payback," Free the Bees is copacetic noise for a beach party, love-in, or peace rally. The album is chock full of classic keyboard lines (five of the six band members are credited with piano or organ), including a particularly beefy Hammond B-3 on "The Russian." Throughout, the Bees are blessed with rock-solid musicianship and an ear for melody, allowing them to rewrite history with fond dexterity. Some listeners will hear a rehash of pop's past - others will embrace this exuberant mix of original nostalgia.