To Die By Your Side

You offer no reason

July 22nd, 2011

In the last post I mentioned that I’d been listening a lot to She Keeps Bees so I thought I’d write a little bit more about them. Now while I’d not heard of them before, it turns out they’ve been around for a few years and indeed, ‘Dig On‘ is their third album. Obviously not having heard them before I can’t really say how this album fits with their back catalogue but taken on it’s own merits, it’s a great but minimal blues rock album. Due to the boy-girl duo dynamic of the band and their basic drum-guitar sound, it would be easy to draw comparisons with bands like The White Stripes and The Kills. However while there are similarities, those weren’t the first bands I thought of. As I said last time, early Cat Power springs to mind with a little bit of Sleater Kinney thrown in for good measure.

The music is stripped down to a very bare sound. Drums clatter and bash, while the guitar thrashes roughly. While it harks back to a simpler sound, I wouldn’t call it quite retro. Instead I’d say primal. There are no fancy flights of instrumentation, just direct attacks of noisy blues that sway from an untrusting quiet to aggressively loud. Like a wounded animal ready to pounce and defend itself, the songs explode with controlled, precise moves. The vocals too have that same quality. While she never sounds sweet and innocent, vocalist Jessica Larrabee’s softer purr erupts into a roar of intense anger. As though somethings properly ticked her off.

Not that this is an angry, raging album. It’s more just pissed off. Bruised. Raw and lashing out. Not thinking too much, it doesn’t hold back. The songs feel instinctual, as though they haven’t been over thought or over analysed. Indeed, there is a sense of spontaneity to the whole thing. Much of that comes down to the recording and production. The album has a very live, happening now feel to it. As though it’s been recorded with little post production tinkering. ‘Dig On’ is the kind of record that sounds best with the lights off and the volume turned right up.

She Keeps Bees – vulture (live session version) : original version available on ‘Dig On

She Keeps Bees – found you out (live session version) : original version available on ‘Dig On

Filed Under Album Reviews, Music

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