Indie rock bands are a dime a dozen now-a-days, and that’s great. The grass roots music reviewer (eh hem, yours truly) is enthusiastic about this as it gives him something to do and also contributes to the diversity of music available for the consumer.
But the wading through new bands can be a tedious task as bands fine tune their sound, experiment, flop, fail, rework and finally succeed. I’m not sure what stage of the game Me Like Bees is in, but their album The Ides is an indie album that stands out. With asymmetrical song structures that can abruptly go from bouncy and light, to slow and heavy and back again, the listener is rewarded with an experience that is anything but dull. The vocals are also notable in their…strangeness? Lead vocalist Luke Sheafer has emotionally loaded and often cryptic lyrics that are sung in a strained fashion, as if the lead singer is about to burst into manic screams at any moment: and in some moments, he does just that! It works extremely well with the sharp changes in virtually all the songs on the album.
The first track, “Brand New Fall,” gives a suitable introduction to the album with a slow and measured opening. Just when the listener is convinced he/she’s in for a lilting lullaby, the drums begin a slow build up to a pop beat that explodes at the end with Sheafers fevered exclamations.
“Naked Trees” starts off with a bouncy baseline and top shelf drumming, accented by charged vocals. The tune hops along (the chorus is something like “Le-lu, le-lu, le-lu-lelu”) and then suddenly bursts into a stomping, crunchy rock song, then with the flip of a switch, goes back into the bouncy chorus.
“Pneumonia” starts slowly with simple strumming and softly sung vocals that pick up to another bouncing indie pop song–then suddenly switches to a slow, throbbing tune–then back to the slow origins of the song.
Me Like Bees isn’t a band for everyone, but it’s a band for me. There’s some solid, thoughtful and creative songwriting going on here that is a great change of pace (no pun intended). Check out their stuff here and enjoy something that will keep you guessing.