Wednesday, January 28, 2009
smooth like a bee
Bee Gees - Odessa (lala) - This is one of those records that has been lying dormant on my To Investigate list for ages, having its praises sung by many a music dude over the years, and this assessment of the new deluxe edition by Offbeat's Alex Rawls pushed it to the front. I rather like the haunted Gnostic chants of the opening title track delivered in those same velveteen harmonies that only a decade later defined the disco years. I was in a discussion recently about Skylarking by XTC - in my opinion one of the finest records ever made - and now I can hear a lot of Odessa in some of XTC's arrangements. I hear gossamer country and Bacharach, lots of things I expected, but I did not foresee the similarities between the Bee Gees and the Band that I am hearing in "Marley Purt Drive." and so on and so on. There is a cough syrup haziness in this record that keeps any of the songs from really sticking with me, but frequently something sharp and defined emerges from the cloud, like the chorus of "I Laugh in Your Face."
The Bird & The Bee - Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future (lala) If there is any Bee-oriented album that owns the week, it is this one, being feted in all the papers of the realm. After the lava-grade thickness of an hour of Bee Gees, though, this sounds positively prickly and brittle in comparison. I dunno. I think if I was 23 and had just discovered Stereolab and was all in a tizzy about electro euro lounge pop, I'd love this (like I was for the High Llamas back then)
David Sylvian - Dead Bees on a Cake (lala) I knew there was another super-smooth bee record! I've heard his other bee album Secrets of the Beehive - it was all the rage with us post-new wave Romantic types, but this is a rather exquisite take on existential crisis AOR. At times it is Bryan ferry, others it is Bitches Brew, right now it is kinda Bill Laswell in chillout mode.
Love and Rockets have a b(ee)-side called "Bees" on some single from Earth Sun Moon but I can't find that, so here is my favorite song by them instead.