Bees Deluxe

Bees Deluxe
The Demolition Tapes

Self Produced

By Georgetown Fats
October 2008

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As stated on their web site, Bees Deluxe is a full-tilt, acid blues-funk-rock collective comprised of Boston-based musicians from Brazil, England, and the U.S.

From the first few notes of the first track, “Blues for the Decline of a Western Civilization,” the skill of the musicians is apparent. Within a few more bars of “Blues for the Decline of a Western Civilization” it is also apparent Bees Deluxe is about as close to a standard bar room blues band as McDonalds is to fine dining. It took numerous listens to the entire disc - as well as encouragement from trusted opinions to limit my own personal opinions - to truly appreciate this act for what is represented on the record.

The opening track has a definite soft jazz feel. Featuring Conrad Warre’s work on guitar, the instrumental is somewhere in the vicinity of a track you would hear at a Sunday jazz brunch at a local bistro, or a romantic evening out with a loved one.

On “Ain’t Nobody’s Business,” the track made famous by B.B. King, Bees Deluxe offers a slower version of this timeless classic. Once again the work of Warre on guitar is prevalent, almost a little too much. The work of either Dan Savage or Dave Osoff on keys should have been featured, as their work keeps the track from drifting too far into an adult contemporary feel. The quality of the guitar and drum sounds has an overproduced-tweaked feel that takes away from a new spin on this cover. Also, it is curious the vocalist for this track is not credited, though with some of the wailing, it’s understandable.

“Sweet Home Chicago,” is another classic cover song. Thankfully the mix of the keys, and the bass were lifted up in the mix to highlight the track. Savage and-or Osoff is given a lengthy solo, and I found myself hanging on every note. Drummer Sebastian Kossack and percussionist Ron Dientsmann once again have a curious drum sound, one that usually comes from too much reverb and studio wizardry. Unfortunately, although the two have obvious musical talent, the sounds on this recording have a robotic or programmed sound.

And again, “The Unknown Vocalist” (I wonder if he is any relation to “The Unknown Comic”) sings the song we all know. Thankfully this version of the cover tune does not expose his voice so much; everything is kept well within his range and comfort level.

“Blue Jean Blues,” written by members of ZZ Top, is the fourth track on the Demolition Tapes. Not being familiar with this tune, I am confident in saying either this is probably the boldest musical statement on the disk, or the ZZ Top members have a soft spot in their collective souls for lighter music. This track is where it all comes together, though. Warre plays just enough guitar, The Unknown Vocalist sounds full of conviction with the lyrics, and bassist(s) Jamie Lonto and Steve Straight; along with Kossack and Dientsmann, carry the strong groove throughout the tune.

On the closing track “Walk a Mile with Me,” penned by Warre, the listener is treated to the first Bees Deluxe original offering. And once again the listener is given the Sunday Jazz brunch-soft blues feel and sound. However, since it is an original rather than their take on a classic tune, it has a more complete feel. It is their own tune, and personal tastes cannot interfere.

In closing, I have to recommend Bees Deluxe to music enthusiasts who appreciate strong musicians playing romantic mood music. This act has created a niche and fulfills it admirably. If your idea of a romantic evening out is a small intimate candlelit table at a French bistro with a fine bottle of wine, The Demolition Tapes is the sound track to your evening.

Needless to say, the next time Bees Deluxe is playing within my geographic area and I am trying to romance Mrs. Fats, we will be at their show.

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