Sea Of Bees - Orangefarben

Don’t be fooled by the initial vanilla flavour of this folk album.

Sea Of Bees are not as unpleasant as their name might suggest. Far from hurling the listener into a swarm of angrily stinging insects, ‘Orangefarben’ lovingly places you into bed, tucking you in under a warm duvet of comfortably melodic folk. What Julie Ann Baenziger doesn’t tell you though, as she softly lulls you to sleep with her childlike voice that occupies an area somewhere between Joanna Newsom and Kate Bush - is that there might be a monster under the bed. Don’t be fooled by the initial vanilla flavour of this folk album, because after the first listen Baenziger’s dark side starts to creep through the lyrics, and an experimental musical side starts to show too.

‘Gone’ has the most hooking tune of the entire album. This comes mainly in the shape of an infectious guitar riff that can only be described as ‘Sims-esque’- although this is something that only the most dedicated players of ‘The Sims’ will find influences their opinion much. Look out for the cheery tambourines and rousing guitar solo of ‘Girl’ on the next advert. ‘Teeth’ sounds terrifying, but in actual fact it is a romantically inclined, ditty about kissing a girl with crooked teeth. In fact, majority of ‘Orangefarben’ is comprised of instantly gratifying folk music in the same spirit, and Sea Of Bees have an unfaltering ear for well-written tunes. ‘Smile’ is Baenziger’s foray into the world of darkness, creating a gloomy, experimental song about fake smiles and fractured existence – and it is easily the most interesting thing on the album.

When you compare Sea Of Bees to the dark songstresses of the moment - St Vincent and Daughter- Baenziger’s own monster under the bed does seem a little less fearsome. It came through wonderfully well in 2011’s ‘Songs For The Ravens’, and here it’s subtler still. ‘Orangefarben’ roughly translates as ‘Orange Colour’ and the song titles are also very simple one-word affairs. You can easily take ‘Orangefarben’ at enjoyable face value, but already dedicated fans of Sea Of Bees will find plenty of symbolic richness; things half hinted at and alluded to. For the rest of us, it is a trickier affair to find a happy (or rather, unhappy) medium. ‘Orangefarben’ has very little distinctly objectionable or sinister about it. There is still the impression that something is lying dormant under the initial cheerfulness, but for those craving true, raw darkess, Baenziger’s demons might not rear their heads quite enough.

Tags: Sea of Bees, Reviews, Album Reviews

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