Thursday 21 June 2012

Annie and the Beekeepers - My Bonneville

Album review by Simon Francis Hambrook

Jim Morrison said on a television interview in 1970, that American music tends to come from two stocks: either black, bluesy stock or country and folk stock. He also rather insightfully predicted that music would in the future be much more from single identities on their own with "electricity, tapes and machines". Annie and the Beekeepers are from the country stock in essence and you can tell it from the first notes. It is accessible though, and has moved beyond the simple dynamics or any country rules. ‘It Aint Fair’ is a brilliant gusto-pop tune with a chorus to die for, the kind of thing Camera Obscura or Tennis could genuinely be envious of. 

They seem to know what they’re doing with their progressive sound and the more you trust them the better the result - I hope they always continue to write songs as generous as this - for the fact is we’re getting three and sometimes four fine melodies in each track. Production-wise Annie and the Beekeepers deserve some attention from those who hold the strings. The sound is not poor on this album, it's not unaccomplished either, but in a couple of instances the difference between a good pop tune and a hit pop tune is of course in the co-ordination and skill of the sound engineering. That said, this album is by its very nature positively endearing to the ear, with tracks like ‘My Bonneville’ clearly demonstrating that the band are having fun and can surprise you with any kind of soundscape they desire to explore. Another song of note is the opening track ‘Wake up Mama’ which is slightly darkened in theme, reminding me of some of the spooky tracks by Sufjan Stevens. 

Listening more it becomes clear a fragrance of new folk, such as that Vetiver might create, is approaching the more demure and lovely scent of the best Sol Seppy can provide. This is a luscious and laden album. I think this band are an exception to Mr Morrison’s observance, for although the vocals are truly country-ish in origin there are notes of bluegrass in here which do not seem at all out of place. He was right about the machines though, wasn’t he?

Annie and the Beekeepers' website

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