Release Date: Jan 27, 2009
Record label: Blue Note
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Pop, Alternative
Vocalist Inara George and ?keyboardist/Lily Allen producer Greg Kurstin make up the retro-pop duo The Bird and the Bee, whose sophomore ?effort Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future ticktocks through space and time (tropicalia, cabaret, hand-clapping Harajuku girl beats) with an urgency missing from their 2007 debut. Cheeky modernity hides beneath every glistening throwback, as in ?”Diamond Dave,” surely the most harmonious tribute ever written to the frontman of Van Halen. A? Download This: Listen to songs from the new album on the band’s MySpace .
It’s dangerously easy for “serious” music fans to equate feeling good with feeling dumb. Pop music has long been stereotyped as vapid and disposable pap because, let’s face it, that stereotype has been proven true more than once. But just as country music isn’t all shtick about cheatin’ wives and lost dogs, and rock and roll has died a thousand deaths, pop music doesn’t deserve its status, even amongst its fans, as a loveable ditz.
With their new album, The Bird and the Bee pick up the mantle of retro jazzy, Euro-pop that was picked up by the Cardigans in the 90s and carried on by bands like Broadcast more recently. Sound was very important to those bands, as it is here, though maybe less so. There’s no outright club track like Fucking Boyfriend from the debut, nor is there anything that plays as close to the edge as that one.
Los Angeles duo digs into pop pasticheHaving turned their off-the-cuff side project into a surprisingly eclectic debut album and a single that topped Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play chart, singer/songwriter Inara George and veteran producer/sideman Greg Kurstin cast their stylistic nets even wider on their second full-length.to David Lee Roth. But while the duo borrows a bit too obviously from its influences at times, the album’s detailed production and stylistic shifts reward multiple listens, resulting in a pop album with surprising depth.Listen to "Ray Gun" off Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future on The Bird and The Bee'sMySpace. .
The Bird and the Bee emerged from their retro nest in 2006, flaunting a sort of contemporary space-age pop that relied on Inara George's voice -- a jazzy, soft soprano in the vein of Norah Jones and Priscilla Ahn -- and Greg Kurstin's production chops. The combination celebrated outmoded genres without losing a modern edge, and the Bird and the Bee scored a chart-topping club single ("Fucking Boyfriend") while simultaneously courting the NPR crowd. Several years later, the Bird and the Bee take a grounded approach to their sophomore effort, Ray Guns are Not Just the Future, which sports nary a club single (much less an expletive-filled song title).
Don't be alarmed by the label - Blue Note hasn't released a real jazz record in ages. Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future is just another quirky retro-pop outing for producer Greg Kurstin and singer/sidekick-for-hire Inara George. [rssbreak] The strange thing is that George's timbre, phrasing and inflections here are exactly like Eleni Mandell's, which may seem unlikely unless you know they've been working together in the side project the Living Sisters.
Bee Greg Kurstin is the producer of Lily Allen's new album, but here resumes his partnership with his own Bird - Lowell George's daughter Inara George. It's easy to imagine they share a sweet tooth and narcoleptic tendencies, as well as a love of electro pop and jazz standards (hey, it's on Blue Note): their second LP is all candy-coloured dreamscapes. Lily remains a spikier proposition.
Velvet-voiced singer Inara George is the daughter of the late Little Feat frontman Lowell, and producer Greg Kurstin has written songs for two Lily Allen albums. With such pedigree, it's strange that their second album as a duo has such a half-baked feel. It's an intriguing blend of soft, Bacharach pop and jazzy harmonies, but is let down by lapses into knowing easy-listening that can sound insincere.