Music » CD Reviews

Band of Bees/The Redwalls

Free the Bees (Astralwerks)/De Nova (Capitol)

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The Buzzcocks' sly Pete Shelley was "surfing on a wave of nostalgia for an age yet to come," but for most backward-looking bands of recent decades, the '60s will do just fine. And '60s necrophilia is practically a tradition compared to the current '80s vogue, which explains why it's getting so damned good.

The Isle of Wight's Band of Bees doesn't lack authenticity. But on its latest, Free the Bees, it's the funky milkshake of styles, circa '66, and party atmosphere that make it tug your ears like the smirk-free music Ween never made. The Redwalls, on the other hand, are from Chicago, recreating '60s Brit-rock with vocals that loosen all previous applications of "Lennonesque." Their gimmickless take on the Small Faces and mid-period Beatles absolutely nails their soulful pop and early psychedelia into the Norwegian wood. Until someone does the Buzzcocks with this much passion, we'll just have to vex our kids with the real thing.

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