Spirit of the Beehive – ‘Entertainment, Death’ album review

Spirit of the Beehive Entertainment, Death album review Saddle Creek

Philadelphia’s psych-pop trio Spirit of the Beehive get set to release ‘Entertainment, Death’ – their first album since signing to Saddle Creek and fourth overall. Entirely self-recorded and produced remotely over the past 12 months, the band mixed the album digitally before mastering it to tape with guitarist and vocalist Zach Schwartz saying: ‘We knew we wanted to use some new instrumental elements on this album. We’re not going fully electronic. But guitar, bass, drums just get kind of monotonous.’

‘Entertainment’ opens the album in fractured style. Full of inventive tones, industrial drumbeats and almost tribal squeaks and squelches, it evolves as gentle guitar and birdsong samples glide over the freak folk soundtrack. This is followed by ‘There’s Nothing You Can’t Do’ – a potent and psychedelic piece that sits neatly in the space between Death Grips and Goldfrapp. Exciting, wonky and with a funky bass line, you can’t help but be on the band’s side when they declare ‘I’m your friend’. The dreamy ambience of ‘Wrong Circle’ finds Zach and bassist Rivka Ravede sharing vocal duties while ‘Give Up Your Life’ opens in traditional indie-rock fashion before faltering into a compelling pece of art rock, complete with chimes and messages about preparing for difficult situations.

‘Rapid & Complete Recovery’ continues this jagged and edgy sound as the band veer from sonic soundscapes and melodies to the road less often taken with ease. As the band passionately repeat the question ‘What if we don’t feel the same?’, it becomes clear they’re always going to take the unexpected route – and it’s especially rewarding on repeat listens. ‘The Server is Immersed’ – described in the press release as ‘perhaps the poppiest song on the album’ – feels like Animal Collective having a jam session with London Grammar as haunting call-and-response vocals come to the fore and chunky riffs surround elements of both sadness and hope.

‘It Might Take Some Time’ also veers between genres with ease, this time from Spiritualized-style space rock to something more fuzzy, while the closing three songs are equally diverse – the six-and-a-half-minute ‘I Suck the Devil’s Cock’ blending melodic guitar pop, bouncy bass and glitchy electro to compelling effect.

‘Entertainment, Death’ is wildly experimental and extremely exhilarating. Get it in your life.

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