The term "Kmart realism" was first coined in the 1980s to describe a trend in literary fiction defined by sparse sentences, fast food joints, and the hyper-acceleration of capitalism and commercialization in primarily suburban spaces. Kmart realists like Mary Robison, Raymond Carver, Denis Johnson, and, to some extent, Don DeLillo, wrote about the eerie feeling of walking through a shopping mall at night, of relaxing in front of the TV only to be greeted by endless advertisements for personal injury lawyers and small-town waterparks, of sending your brain into oblivion with synthetic drugs. The term could also be applied to Spirit of the Beehive, the project of psychotropic Philly punks Zack Schwartz, Rivka Ravede, and Corey Wichlin, whose excellent fourth album, ENTERTAINMENT, DEATH, is lit by that same, terrifying, phosphorescent glow.
Since 2014, Philadelphia group SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE have lost themselves in sprawling pop psychedelia. The Zack Schwartz and Rivka Ravede-led project is equal parts menacing and blissful, crafting homespun recordings comprised of ascending melodies interspersed with swells of ambiance and warped field recordings. But it's much more approachable than it sounds.
The words "entertainment" and "death" one after another seem like a commentary on society -- as if to say our current social media-driven world is entirely built upon quick-consuming content until we're burnt out or die. While only loosely based around this concept, Spirit of the Beehive's new album sounds like it is speeding up this process.
To put it succinctly, the band's fourth album ENTERTAINMENT, DEATH is a mood, or really all of the moods -- a scattered inclination to experience the simultaneous hysteria and serenity of the chaotic nature of our unfiltered minds.