She Keeps Bees: Dig On
The Brooklyn duo She Keeps Bees returns for a new album with Dig On, which features a tone that’s a little calmer, darker and more consistent than their previous record, Nest. While the sound is still that of simple, toned-down rock basics, the album expresses less anguish, with a more overall calm feel. Singer Jessica Larrabee’s Cat Power-like vocals are well suited to both the darker tone of lyrics, as well as the album’s more languid moments.
Much of the album works with momentum that appealingly builds like a rising storm only to slow down and rise again. This pattern works most compellingly on the album’s standout track, “Vulture.” On this track an impassioned Larrabee sings with vigor, “You’re a vulture/Spineless/You offer no vision/Just the lies that you live.” Another standout is “Calm Walk in the Dark” on which Larabee’s vocals and Andy LaPlant’s instrumentals are effectively ominous, again gathering and slowing down the tempo. The fact that this indie rock couple holed themselves up in a remote locale in the Catskill Mountains to record Dig On seems to be reflected in the album’s calmer tone. While Nest’s was evocative of the angst and stress that New York City dwellers know all too well, Dig On seems to express the distanced anger and sadness one might feel when they have left the terrible situation and are now looking back with perspective.
Those with a preference for catchy, chorus-heavy pop songs may also find themselves lost without an anchor on Dig On as the songs mostly lack a traditional verse-chorus-verse organization. In terms of sound and tone there is little variance amongst the tracks with one blending into the next without clear distinction. While the album’s tone is an appealing and compelling one, it would be nice to see the duo showing a bit of experimentation especially since Larrabee clearly has the vocal chops for it.