Thursday, December 21, 2006

Ü2K6: The Happy Plane

Um...um...I'm sorry. I just can't write an introduction that will do justice to today's band without the aid of acid, and I don't have access to any. My apologies, but here we go...

5. Persephone's Bees - Notes From The Underworld


Let's get this straight from the outset: Notes From The Underworld is, bar none, the happiest album ever. It is impossible to listen to this and not break out in sheer glee by the end. This is the sort of music that acts as a soundtrack to things that involve smiling clouds and puppies bounding happily through sunny bright flower fields.

To understand Persephone's Bees, it is first necessary to understand its founder (who appears above): frontwoman Angelina Moysov (product of Russia). Even though she has had plenty of time to absorb Western music (having emigrated to the US in 1993), you could make a fairly good case for her not having heard any new music produced after say, 1970.

Using solely Notes From The Underworld as evidence. You see, Persephone's Bees reaches these heights of gaiety by using whatever they like from across pop's history. "Muzika Dyla Fil'ma" is a good example of this, starting off like an outtake from a surfing film and gradually drowning that throughout the rest of the song through Ladytron-style electroclash keyboards. I'm fairly sure that punchy melody in "Paper Plane" is not the product of keyboards, but of some sort of organ not heard since halcyon days involving the words "love", "potion", "number", and "nine". The band revels in this to one degree or another, throwing out references to go-go boots on "Even Though I'm Fooling Around", which sounds like a jump-rope song gone Sesame Street.

What keeps all of this from collapsing into a retro hole is really nice, really strong guitar work from Tom Ayres, who brings a thoroughly modern, thoroughly grounding element to things. Most of the songs play off between him and something fun on the drums and keyboards, while Angelina (who has a very pretty voice, by the way, full of melody and range) just keeps the insanity going. ("Paper Plane" is possibly the best example of this.)

Finally, yes, mixing up pre-existing elements is worth the number 4 spot, especially when it's done so well. (See Opeth. And if you've never heard Opeth before, you owe it to yourself to track down Blackwater Park. Now.)


Video of "Paper Plane" (conveniently my current favorite song): Here
KCRW Set, September 6th, 2006: Here (M4V Movie File)
Buy it here.

Tomorrow: A trip down the highway.

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Paulie said...
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