Julie Ann Baenziger's debut album as Sea of Bees is suspended between two polarised but equalling poleaxing emotional states: the dizzying headiness of new, intensely felt love and the devastation of rejection. But just as the sun beats relentlessly on her home town of Sacramento, California, Baenziger's essentially sunny personality radiates from every lysergic note, making it hard to distinguish desire from despair in the haze of passionate feeling. Her lyrics read like a teenage diary, solipsistic and sometimes startling in their innocence.
Julie Ann Bee creates music under the Sea of Bees moniker, with help from a constantly-shifting array of backing musicians. Songs are built around Bee’s swooping, girlish voice, an instrument reminiscent of The Innocence Mission’s Karen Peris in both tone and cadence. Fans of such childlike female vocalists will be intrigued; others may find the sound tiresome.
Wallpaper. It's one of the modern world's most peculiar and unnecessary luxuries. For some baffling reason, millions of people choose to spend hours in colossal home improvement stores agonising over what luxurious floral print best embodies their personalities. Then, once it’s up and pals are suitably impressed over Tetley and ginger snaps, their immaculate choice of interior enhancement fades into the background, barely given a moment’s notice amongst the rabble of domestic life.
It’s a very common occurrence in the music world to come across a stereotypical artist, album, or sound. Now when I say stereotypical, I don’t mean cliche, I mean relating to a certain group or demographic and after sitting down with my girlfriend to listen to the new Sea of Bees release, it has become apparent that music is now being made for all the girlfriends out there. “Girlfriend rock” seems to be all sorts of different, but at its core, indie tones and common voices reign supreme.
Sounds for night-time log cabins far away from America’s too-loud cities. Lewis G. Parker 2011 Julie Ann Baenziger is a Californian singer and multi-instrumentalist whose accomplished debut album is washed over in atmospheric weird folk, with the songs being a vehicle for creating landscapes of withdrawn emotion that recall Midlake’s The Trials of Van Occupanther.
Nom de musique of Julie Ann Baenziger, her Sea of Bees diffuses California pop by turns dreamy and atmospheric – folky – and perhaps even a bit precious. But Songs for the Ravens is never boring. As a young girl, Baenziger (Bee) fell in love with an older girl with a lovely voice at church, which folded her deeply into the shelter of music. "Skinnybone" is sweetly melancholic while also exploring the tensions between a girl's simple adoration and a woman's honeyed sensuality: "Like a little girl inside/I want to hug you day and night." "Marmalade" haunts with a darkly thrumming rhythm, and in "Strikefoot," Bee's vocals sound Appalachian, though all affectation dissipates when she insists "please" again and again and again.