I still find myself listening to Wizbot, the stunning highlight from the Sea of Bees’ debut released last year. It has a melody that breaks the heart on every spin – Julie Ann Baenziger (who is Sea of Bees) has an almost Bushesque (as in Kate) vocal wandering a folk landscape.
Does album number have two have more Wizbot moments? Not really. As a set of songs, however, it’s a stronger collection than the first. The instrumentation is flowing in a more subtle manner this time round, almost edging towards pop at times. On Broke, a solid, mid-tempo cruise on the mainstream motorway, the electric guitars and keyboards are neatly fitted within the Baenziger template without any disruption.
The gorgeous Teeth captures more bright colours and the original Baenziger gene (vocals that jump to the higher end of the scale and back again with an emotional wail) – the guitars shimmer, you can here each string being picked. There’s even a pedal steel that provides a warm security to the whole affair. The fragile flute on the more humble Smile is another lovely meander, just on a quieter tip. There is little doubt Baenziger’s songs are being crafted with care and attention.
I’d find it heard to pick out any real highlights – it’s more like a team effort (okay, so I love Alien). It won’t be an instantaneous hit (which is why it will have a longer lifespan than the debut), and the alt-countrified Girl might slip into middle of the row. Yet this is a solid record that swims in beautifully melancholic waters more often than not – and anything with Baenziger’s tones on it gets my vote.