Bees Deluxe – Mouthful of Bees
Self-Produced/Slapping Cat Records
CD: 10 Songs, 36 Minutes
Styles: Acid Blues, Guitar Monster Blues, Blues Covers
Full disclosure: You have to be a certain type of blues fan, and a certain type of acid-rock fan, to be all abuzz about Boston’s Bees Deluxe. Ever heard Tim Wilson’s “Acid Country?” Mouthful of Bees is acid blues. Fortunately for devotees of the classic variety, in the course of ten tracks, they present covers such as Etta James’ “Damn Your Eyes,” Bobby Bland’s “I Wouldn’t Treat A Dog (The Way You Treated Me),” and Earl Green’s “Homework.” Their overall oeuvre may be deemed eclectic, experimental, and definitely post-Gen-X.
Sure, they pay homage to such psychedelic pioneers as Jimi Hendrix, Alice Cooper and the Grateful Dead, but theirs ain’t your (or your father’s, in my case) “experiences.” Keep that in mind as you listen. Instrumentally, their brilliance lies in what lies beneath the threshold of hearing, the eerie subliminal messages in their songs without lyrics. Close your eyes and imagine you’re at a concert – or go to a live one.
How did Mouthful of Bees come to be? After driving from Maine to Florida and all points in between, the band locked themselves in the studio with producer Joe Egan and played a large chunk of their stage repertoire direct-to-tape. Explains lead guitarist/singer Conrad Warre, “Our last album contained all originals, so this time we thought it might be a nice change to record a few of our favorite songs that we’ve honed to a steel finish after playing them to audiences up and down the East Coast. So we played a live gig in the studio and mixed a handful of the songs a day later.”
Bees Deluxe consists of Conrad Warre on lead guitar and vocals; Carol Band on keyboards, harmonica and vocals; Allyn Dorr on bass and vocals, and Paul Giovine on drums and percussion.
“Voodoo Doll” plunges us headfirst into the psychedelic pool. It should be the first item Google shows you if you search for “screaming guitar.” If you want to know what this band’s signature style is, look no further. The blues covers that follow may be some of their faves, such as tracks two, six and eight, but if you’ve never heard of Bees Deluxe, this CD’s opener is the one to hear.
Another focal point is number seven, “For the Love of a Woman.” Lo and behold, it’s almost traditional – a marvel in the midst of mercurial madness. Don’t be afraid to break out the air shredder, whether you’re at home or in a crowd. “Palace of the King” and “Blue + Yellow” are also notable, particularly the latter. It sounds like something Clapton or ZZ Top would have played in their younger days. Not only that, but it’ll make boisterous Boomers sit up and pay attention.
Mouthful of Bees demonstrates what it means to uncover songs – to discover their esoteric meanings – as well as to cover them!