WRCU Review – Hip-Hop Review

Joel Feitzinger

For Mouthful of Bees, irony goes only so far as its album title. The End is a sincere, potent blend of familiar rock progressions, lean production and afro-beat. Okay, the irony goes a bit further than initially stated – for instance, the band’s Myspace page. But on the generous Lo-Fi Hipster Scale this album comes off as resoundingly “IRONY FREE” and is therefore worthy of one’s attention.

The first thing striking about The End is its unique production quality, or lack thereof. Somewhat paradoxically this works in the band’s favor. Stiff and nasally come to mind as the first track, “The Now,” opens with severely over-compressed drum smashing, only to cut to a cloudy 1950s guitar riff and Television-style walking pentatonics. After some tactful buildup of energy behind mellowed-out male vocals reminiscent of QOTSA’s Josh Homme, the track explodes into a flurry of punk rock chord shredding and the album closes with a ripped-open variation of the Television motif.

The album shifts between two modes: chirpin’ hard, a la “The Now,” and island coconut, a.k.a. acoustic surf rock. Only once does the music turn melancholy; this is on the spectacularly synthy “I Saw A Golden Light”. “Old Cold”, the closing track, is arguably the album’s strongest and bears resemblance to Yo La Tengo’s “Sugarcube”. This registers brownie points in any good hipster’s book.

Pitchforks be damned if these guys (and girl) don’t make an impact this year. The End looks to be the beginning of a great discography for Mouthful of Bees.