Following on from 2011’s hugely successful Dig On, She Keeps Bees are back with gritty new album Eight Houses.
Produced by Nicolas Vernhes, the album is an extension of a sound already synonymous with the Brooklyn duo as they release the ten track LP which is brimming with their own distinctive brand of blues rock.
The album meanders with a confidence, delivering a classy blend of soulful grit and subtle yet striking strings, illustrated superbly throughout opening track Feather Lighter. And it’s here we encounter those bassy, twangy low-pitched strings as they pave the way for Jessica Larrabee’s crisp and classy vocal. The track serves as a fitting introduction of what is to follow as the album unfolds. Soulful, easy-listening at its purest.
Second offering Breezy opens with an extension of the sound carried from Feather Lighter. Here the vocal is refreshingly Earthy, richer and peaks at an almost anthemic level, yet remains beautifully harmonic throughout. This can often be dangerous territory for a vocalist to tread as tones become forced – even misdirected. Not here. The vocal remains as pure as it is natural and fits like a glove (as my father would say)!
The standout track for me is Owl. Featuring Sharon van Etten on backing vocals, the song explores those classical lower string tones, soft percussion and subtle yet oh-so-present brass. This, combined with that spellbinding vocal, and it becomes impossible not to conjure black and white Hollywood-esque images of a smokey 1950s New York club performance. Perhaps a nod to the duo’s Brooklyn roots?
Is What It Is may well be the track which best sums up what the duo are all about- It is quintessentially She Keeps Bees and precisely what we may have come to expect. The track further emphasises the point that Eight Houses is all about the vocal-It is crystal clear, captivating and dreamlike in its delivery. The perfect way to round off an album which carries a wonderful, almost subtle power throughout.
There’s nothing dynamic or explosive about it, and there’s no room for such. The tone is consistent and its delivery precise from start to end.
It will not attack your senses. It will appeal to your inner peace. Every bit the blues rock album it set out to be.
Eight Houses is released on September 16th through Future Gods.