The Bird And The Bee is the answer to those who’ve been pining away for Esquivel to raise up from his grave to make more space-age bachelor pad music. The jazzy, ethereal pop music that Inara George (the bird) and Greg Kurstin (the bee) make is painfully hip — sounding as if being broadcast from the 60’s except the bleeps and rhythms are relevantly current. With their self-titled debut in 2006, TB&TB ended up with an unlikely #1 dance hit in “Fucking Boyfriend” which, with its modern dance elements, wasn’t indictative of the far more subtle sounds they were groovin’ on.
While many found the debut too subtle, Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future is an attempt to bring more listeners into their sensual vibe. Their second is far more accessible and immediately likable beginning with the rock arena stomp and clap rhythm of the first stunning song of 2009: “My Love”. Here is a simple love song which weaves in and out of consciousness like the emotion it celebrates carried on a cloud of dreamy keys and sitar sounds. This in no way prepares you for “Diamond Dave” — a love song to Van Halen’s original and best front man, David Lee Roth. “When you left the band/I couldn’t understand it/But I’ve forgiven you/Now that you’ve recommitted.”
Their sense of humor is sprinkled throughout the album. Take a listen to one of the two songs taken from EPs included here, “Polite Dance Song”. Original featured on 2007’s Please Clap Your Hands, the song still holds up as one of their best after a year and a half. The song itself is a slow saunter of sway that has Inara coyly asking you to get up and boogie with them. “I beg of you to get up and dance/It’s such a crazy kick-ass beat.” Turn the coin and she’s pointing her wit in “You’re A Cad” at a schmuck who, no matter her loyalty, is “…a rascal and a rouge/A villain and a crook/Still I tug on your line/I’m a fish on your hook”. With its 1920’s Italian feel, it seems almost to be a hate song dedicated to a mafia member.
Full of different moods, Ray Guns… is an album filled with songs of love (“Love Letter To Japan”) and hate (“Witch”); beginnings (“Baby”) and ends (“Lifespan Of A Fly”), but mostly just beautiful, little pop ditties. The Bird And The Bee may evoke 60’s sensibilities, but their music is pure now: hip and groovy, baby.
“Polite Dance Song”
“Love Letter To Japan”