Bees Deluxe – Speechless (The Instrumentals)
Slapping Cat Records – 2021
13 Tracks; 52 minutes
The members of “Bees Deluxe” are undeniably excellent musicians. However, only a select population of blues fans will likely appreciate their latest release, Speechless. The reasons for this begin with the general nature of this Boston-based band, comprised of Conrad Warre on guitar, Carol Band on keyboards, Allyn Door on bass and Paul Giovine on drums (with several special guests on this album, including Vizztone Label Founder/President Richard “Rosy” Rosenblatt on harmonica, and Bruce Mattson on Hammond B3).
They have been described as an “Acid Blues and Modern Punk Jazz” band, which may not appeal to blues purists or listeners whose taste rarely extends beyond traditional blues or blues-rock songs. Also this release is comprised solely of instrumental songs which may not appeal to a wide audience. Listeners often look for a message in the lyrics of a song, seeking validation of experiences that resonate with them. Instrumental songs force the listener to work much harder to imagine what message is being sent by the artists.
In spite that, for those who do take the time to listen to the album, they will be treated to beautiful blues guitar in the opening number, “Industrial (Espionage),” although at times it is almost lost in the somewhat sinister space-age sounds of the keyboards and percussion.
“Strange Matter” is likely to be the most underappreciated song on the album because of its experimental sound, while “Beer” is likely to be the most appreciated, given it has a readily identifiable blues/honky-tonk sound (with excellent harmonica from Richard “Rosy” Rosenblatt).
In addition, “All Miles” has a catchy rhythm, with its bluesy tribute to Miles Davis, and “3454 Miles” and “Song No. 9” are both very melodic and seem quite familiar, although all 13 tracks are original songs. Perhaps the most intriguing song on the album is the final track, “Imaginary Conversation between Bjork and Buddy Guy.” This slow and beautiful song takes surprisingly little imagination to hear how it earned its title.
In summary, the outstanding musicianship and interesting liner notes make this quite a fascinating album. It does take a certain type of listener to truly appreciate it. It is recommended to fans who appreciate the complexity and abstract representation of jazz fusion.