Layering modern jazz and esoteric-pop, the duo of lead vocalist Inara
George and multi-instrumentalist/music programmer Greg Kurstin
who form The Bird And The Bee prove that there are many shades
of pop music between mainstream and indie. The pair's latest release,
Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future, is a rich assortment of theatrical-pop
riddled with cool jazz vapors and world music influences like the
eastern accented chimes that tingle through "Love Letter To Japan."
Inara and Kurstin take synth-pop into new realms of melodically shagged
strands and ambient passages that audiences can sink into and get
some fun out of.
The album opens with a theatrical organ whirl in "Fanfare"
and then segues into a Lily Allen-style synth-pop netting along
"My Love" and sprightly lifts and jazz-induced shimmies
coursing through "Diamond Dave." Their club beats are like
the UK's The Ting Tings with ambient sequences that have a
cool jazz piping reminiscent of Adele and the UK's Holly
Johnson of Frankie Goes To Hollywood fame, which spring
to life in "Baby." The esoteric-shaped nuances and marching
band stomps of "Phil" recall of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely
Hearts Club Band while the vaudeville style keys and effects of
"You're A Cad" have a '60s showtune vibe. Speaking of the
'60s, "Witch" has a jazz tunage reminiscent of Shirley
Bassey when she sang the title track to the James Bond flick Goldfinger.
The Bird And The Bee seem to take music relics of the past and put
their own stamp on them making them objects influenced by contemporary
times like the melodic-pop swirls of "Birthday" recessing
and soaring in elliptical patterns, and the aquatic swishing of "Ray
Gun" and "Meteor" flickering with a modern-pop glint.
The reggae-tinted grooves of "Polite Dance Song" and bubbly
synth effects of "What's In The Middle" also add to the
album's gravitational pull towards having fun.
The Bird And The Bee are all about having fun, not necessarily in
the manner of The Ting Tings' party fun, but more in the realm of
Lily Allen's private thoughts of having fun. Before venturing out
into writing their own compositions, the Los Angeles-based duo began
by playing jazz standards, hence their relationship with Blue Note
Records. They write songs for their own pleasure, and it proves that
one person's source of pleasure can be everyone's means of having
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