Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Reviews:: Danger Bees - Fight Fire With Failure

I've been meaning to write something about Dartmouth's Danger Bees for a while now for one reason: to combat all the Ack's talk about the Ghost Bees. This is a bit of a stretch, as I don't really have a problem with the Lightman sisters or their button-cute creepiness, but any band name is made at least 20% funner to discuss with the inclusion of "bees" in said name, and really, why should the Ack have all that stingin', winged fun?

Of course that intro is just a tad facetious, as the debut album from this young threesome, Fight Fire With Failure, is certainly worth a listen on it's own merits. I just realized that I used "young" in that last sentence without knowing how old the Bees actually are, but the tales of quarter life crisises that can be found throughout this album lead me to believe that they are certainly on the far south side of 30. Too much Nintendo, MSN references, struggling at sparsely attended shows, singing a love ode to cigarettes, and hating on Captain Picard are not usually song topics that would appeal to my curmudgeonly, and soon to be 34-year-old, self (oh wait, I can whole-heartedly get behind the last one). But I have to say, in the case of the Danger Bees, it works for me. The songs are melodic, cleverly written, and laced with a kind of self-deprecating humour that can draw you in if you give them the chance.

The Danger Bees have a mid-tempo, guitar-led sound that brings to mind 90's indie rock on first listen, but they mix things up with the occasional use of piano and synths to create a modern indie-pop-ish sound. While the music on Fight Fire With Failure is certainly solid, I think it's the songwriting that will likely make or break this album for most listeners.

You Can't Take Care of Yourself is an ode to those direction-less friends we all used to have (or still have in many cases) who can't figure out which path to take after high school, so they choose none. Lines like "stand up and turn off your Nintendo that you got yourself way too good at the expense of friends" and "You went swimming with your glasses on, and you still freaked out when you found that they're gone!" do a great job bringing to mind people we've all known. The sweet piano-assisted melody of Dig Up, Stupid shows the band can venture confidently away from the lo-fi bounce of guitar led songs like Paper Thin and Caroline & I (This is also true on vulnerable songs like After I Wake Up and Awkward Guy).

I think Being Serious is likely the best example of why I find singer/songwriter David Macmichael's writing style engaging, it's a mature song about the end of an immature romance, if that makes any sense. This also seems like as good a time as any to mention that Macmichael is the nephew of late Cutting Crew guitarist Kevin Macmichael, which is kind of awesome.

Anyway, we're starting to ramble here, but let me just say that I think Fight Fire With Failure is worth a listen. I say this despite the fact that I 'm sure some people might be unable to relate to the kind of specific time of one's life that the songs on this album capture, but you can nod your head to catchy songs at any age, so suck it up. Oh, and enjoy!

Posted at 11:15 AM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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