The Deal: L.A. duo The Bird and the Bee – Inara George and Greg Kurstin – releases sophomore album and take pop influence down the psychedelic road.
The Good: The band's conglomeration of styles makes for atmospheric music that balances on a line between trippy and pop. Layered vocals on "What's in the Middle" add an interesting psychedelic quality to the track. "Ray Gun" has an old-school mellow feel to it that reminded me a little of Mazzy Star. There are plenty of jazzy qualities to George's voice that work perfectly with the '60s pop style of the group. "Baby" is another retro-pop song with a bit of harp thrown in. It's music that causes images of beehive haircuts or style a la Austin Powers to appear. "Polite Dance Song" was a great tongue-in-cheek instructional tune that sweetly asks the listener to "put your hands in the air" and "shake it like you just don't care" to the "crazy kick-ass beat." "You're A Cad" has a cabaret feel to it that worked well with the tone of the album.
The Bad: Plenty of people are comparing this one to the debut and saying it doesn't match up, but taken on its own, it's a fine album. "Love Letter to Japan" sounded a little too much like a modern pop song and begins a brief two-track departure from the first five songs on the disc. "Meteor" was a little too experimental and modern with the beats and grooves. While there are 14 tracks on the album, two of them clock in under 30 seconds – one of them under 10! "Phil" is a nine-second drum fill ... clever title.
The Verdict: Enjoyable, happy mood music that might get you dancing a little, but if not, you'll at least be sitting on all that mod furniture with a drink in your hand and your foot tapping away.