Free The Bees - The Bees [Band of Bees]

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. 100
    A monumental step forward in the progression of the group's sound.
  2. One of Britain's best-kept secrets. [8 Jul 2005, p.71]
  3. Even though the stylistic diversity of the first album isn't present, it's hard not to get caught up in the dreamy spell that The Bees weave. [#7]
  4. Some of 'Free The Bees' could have been recorded 40 years ago and some of it could have been beamed down from an orbiting space station 3,000 years further along the pipe than us. [26 Jun 2004, p.54]
  5. 80
    As satisfying as it is stylish. [Jul 2004, p.95]
  6. 80
    Only a central, three-track lull--where grooves are preferred over songs--sours this eclectic, irresistible stew. [Jul 2005, p.114]
  7. 80
    Among the most engaging albums of the year. [Jul/Aug 2005, p.108]
  8. Free the Bees is all worth hearing, a lot more than once, and it could be the Album of the Year -- the only question is if that year is 2004 or 1968.
  9. It’s comparable to blending all the best bits of Led Zep and hippie rockers Grateful Dead, with a spoonful of Motown classics to help the medicine go down.
  10. Free the Bees shows a group of skilled musicians who are comfortable in their style and songwriting, and it plays like it was unearthed in a warehouse basement, where it was hidden for the last forty years.
  11. It’s not going to change the musical horizon, as there’s absolutely nothing new here. But the oldies – the hilarious Chicken Payback, the beautiful 50s ballad I Love You, or the exuberantly wonderful One Glass of Water – are strong enough to make this both a worthy successor and a promise for the future.
  12. Glows with retro colour. [Jul 2004, p.110]
  13. The Bees are quirky enough to avoid being anybody's museum curator.
  14. Their sheer retro enthusiasm compensates for the music's derivativeness--for some of the tracks at least. [Aug/Sep 2005, p.111]
  15. The band's greatest success is their ability to craft unassuming, enjoyable revival rock numbers with clever lyrics, recalling their musical forebears without ever descending to cliché.
  16. It really is quite difficult to believe that the band behind Free the Bees is the same one responsible for Sunshine Hit Me; while one record isn't necessarily stronger than the other and both are equally eclectic, they seem to be jumpstarted by wildly dissimilar muses.
  17. The melodies are mostly jaunty and the stoner harmonies solar-powered enough to lull around your brain but there’s no disguising the fact it’s a disappointingly one-dimensional record stuffed with half-baked ideas (“The Start”) and devoid of a single original thought.
  18. Plays mostly as a digest of fairly enjoyable if not particularly memorable shaggy-haired rockers in the Kinks or Small Faces mold with little material to rival Sunshine's radiant highs.
  19. In lieu of messing around in the dark fringes of slightly bizarre café music, Free The Bees is a straight up rock album more in line with Iron Butterfly and the Small Faces than Morcheeba or Quantic.
  20. To be fair Free The Bees isn’t a bad record as such, it’s just that this backwards looking, past-is-best philosophy so often smacks of a distasteful and conservative obsession with authenticity and tradition, as if sounding like the past is more important than sounding like yourselves.
  21. Nothing comes close to the [early tracks], though plenty of interesting bits are strewn about.
  22. Yet no amount of reverb-drenched vocals, acid-flashback harmonies or Hammond organs can prevent The Bees from being a bunch of blokes from the Isle of Wight who happen to have better record collections than songwriting abilities.
  23. The band falls apart attempting to sound like the whole of the late ’60s and the start of the early ’70s all at once, like listening to The Notorious Byrd Brothers, American Beauty, Moby Grape’s self-titled, the Hollies’ Stop! Stop! Stop! , and a Sloan record played simultaneously; a tepid mash of classic styles all fine on their own that cancel each other out when played together.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 19 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 12
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 12
  3. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. Bertha
    Jul 16, 2007
    Every reviewer on this page that dogged this album sounds like a music-geek asshole. The pitchfork one was harsh for no reason. It sounded like the reviewer was personally insulted by A Band Of Bees deciding they wanted to play around with some "old" sounds. That brings me to another point. You could "discredit" any artist by tracing their influences. It's pointless trying to draw some arbitrary line that divides influence from imitation. If a band likes to cite their influences, and if you dig the sounds, then what the fuck is the big deal? A Band of Bees may never land on top of a "most influential" list, but they craft some damn good pop songs. Full Review »
  2. GabeH
    May 9, 2006
    This album is a great time capsule of songs that are faithful-in-spirit to the genres they takes their cues from. However, the album never feels hackneyed as your listening. The hooks and harmonies are just too damn engaging to allow you to think about anything else. Essential for those who love either classic motown of the british invasion, or both! Full Review »
  3. James
    Dec 3, 2005
    Beautiful music with soul....not materialistic, disposable crap like 99% of this generation's output (I'm 18 so it is my generation, sadly). Screw 'Pitchfork' (they take one in the ass) and Dusted and all of the others that would rather make snooty comments from the confines of their computer for an extra buck. These are the same people who put the BS we hear on today's radio on the top of the charts because they are souless biproducts of society, nitpicking at music. Why don't you try to be musicians or something useful rather than think that your opinion is the example for everyone? This album is a treasure as one of the only soulful rock albums of my time. Pet Sounds has the title but this is up there on my list. Full Review »