NATIONAL BEEKEEPERS SOCIETY – National Beekeepers Society
With ten songs in twenty-seven minutes, the National Beekeepers Society seem to have taken a page from Weezer’s playbook: rock as hard as you can for thirty minutes and then get out quick. On the song where they come closest to emulating Rivers Cuomo and company, “Slackerevolution,” they pair an “Undone (the Sweater Song)”- type melody with Pavement-worthy lovable slacker lyric (“I wish I was cool/So I could start my own revolution/ Like bumper stickers are cool/ That’s how I learned about evolution”). That “blue album” sound surfaces again on “Machine, Man,” though the vocals here lean toward the Jad Fair school of speak/scream/mumble singing. While they demonstrate more musical ability than the willfully unmusical Half Japanese, there is an element of that primitive music in these songs. Not to say that is a bad thing; bands like Camper Van Beethoven and Pavement have improved on that formula and found modest success with it.
The “influences” section of their MySpace page reveals them to be just a touch schizophrenic. Alongside the bright pop of Metric, they list the lo-fi quirk of the Unicorns and the shimmery atmospherics of the Shins. As diverse as the list is, it is still possible to find evidence of each of those bands lurking in these songs. For instance, “Swing Dream Requiem” comes closest to the aggressive rock of the Pixies while standout track “Scars” yearns to be Neutral Milk Hotel. While not everyone agrees on the exact level of genius, no one can deny that NMH’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea was one of the most influential records of the last ten years, and “Scars” uses its characteristic acoustic guitar over fuzzy organ in a decent emulation. This is fine, because other than perhaps the Arcade Fire, no one’s writing songs like that anymore. The Beekeepers are at their smartest on this track; the words “She’s got stars in her eyes / And scars on her arms” rival “Mary has very discerning hates / In the clothes she wears and who she dates” as the best lyric on the record.
The band’s name seems to reference one of the more ridiculous clubs to which Max Fischer, the hero of the film Rushmore, belonged (the fact that the movie’s writer/director Wes Anderson also made the influences list seems to back that up). Like Fischer, NBS find themselves members of a variety of clubs; luckily they seem to be handling it a little better.