The latest offering from Brooklyn duo, She Keeps Bees, is the result of a timely seclusion in New York’s Catskill Mountains. Holed up in a log cabin together, Jessica Larrabee and Andy LaPlant recorded Dig On in November of last year, the third full length album from this twosome. Be warned, if you like your music complicated, filled to the brim with miscellaneous instruments and imbued with wordy and cryptically meaningful lyrics, then this is not the album for you. Dig On is gritty, raw, blues infused rock at its best. Earthy and right back to basics, it’s a refreshing find and one of the best records you’re likely to hear this year.
Saturn Return opens with Jessica’s understated and effortlessly cool vocals, not a million miles away from the likes of PJ Harvey and Karen O. Immediately the pair’s gift for blending blues and rock to form an unpolished, grass roots sound becomes apparent. There’s no desperate to please guitar riffs or sing along choruses, it’s gritty, minimalist, retro rock at its finest. Found You Out seethes with an underlying menace, its raw guitar combining with Jessica’s vocals to casually churn out this attitude laden track. The melancholy of Farmer sees Andy’s drums come to the fore, it gives the track (and indeed the band’s sound) an injection of adrenaline. There’s an added kick here that’s absent from the former tracks’ nonchalant moodiness.
See Me reaches a trippy crescendo, lazy guitar and raw vocals giving us more of the diamond in the rough sound that makes this album the gem it is. Sister Beware serves as something of an interlude, perhaps the most mellow moment so far, the duo give their sound a softer edge. Gone is the bitter sting from Jessica’s vocals, whilst drums and guitar calm to a soft murmur on the periphery of the track.
All Or None Dark Horse and Vulture are, by far and away, the highlights of this superb record. All Or None Dark Horse with its quirky melancholy and eerie crescendo is not to be missed. Vulture is the talented twosome’s parting shot, more fast paced than any other track on the album, the pair pull the carpet from under our feet as we witness the first (and sole) attempt at something of a catchy chorus.
Dig On is certainly proof this couple’s time in isolation was well spent, if this is the result of spending weeks alone in the mountains, confined to a log cabin, one can only hope She Keeps Bees will do it more often.