Have you ever put on an album on for the first time with no expectations whatsoever, only to have your mind blown by how amazing the music is? That’s pretty much what I got listening to DEATH, ENTERTAINMENT, the fourth studio album from Philadelphia-based band SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE. Admittedly, this is my first introduction to the group (though I quickly went back to listen to their previous albums – Hypnic Jerks is a good starting point for those unfamiliar), and I’ve already fallen in love with their sound. The three-piece band consists of Zack Schwartz on guitar and vocals, Rivka Ravede on bass and vocals and Corey Wichlin, a new addition to the group, as a multi-instrumentalist. With playful guitar leads and melodies, synths throughout that add character and depth to their sound, incredible drumming and angelic vocals, the three-piece band really knocked it out of the park with an album that sounds equally as emotive as it does dynamic and fun.
The unsettling, weird and robotic distortions of “ENTERTAINMENT” make way for faint guitar sounds and incredible drum programming that sounds inspired by some of the more experimental beat music being released today. The lush guitar leads and bubbly sound effects are met by captivating vocals, strings and other electronic grooves that meander between the delicate soundscape of their music. It’s a phenomenal opener to the album and it only gets better from here. “THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN’T DO” is dominated by pulsating drums and guitar leads that are complemented by synths and vocals that sound almost suffocating. The sound intensifies with more distorted guitar leads, overpowering vocals that bring intensity and frantic drumming that is phenomenal as well. Lyrically, the album brings more abstract themes of youth, life, dreams, friendships. It’s not necessarily a cohesive album thematically, but its abstract nature makes for an engaging listen. And sonically, this album is sequenced to perfection, and the few times I’ve played this album, I’ve let it run uninterrupted, fully immersed in the whole experience. Tracks like “GIVE UP YOUR LIFE” and “RAPID & COMPLETE RECOVERY” are sublime, with pleasant, soulful melodies that feel psychedelic and light to the ears. “THE SERVER IS IMMERSED” is excellent too, with fast-paced drumming, as well as guitar and bass leads that add an incredible texture to the track. The shift in tone and pace on “IT MIGHT TAKE SOME TIME” is fantastic, while the dynamic groove on “WAKE UP (IN ROTATION)” is also pretty great. One of the lead singles “I SUCK THE DEVIL’S COCK” is the longest and most expansive moment on the album, and what a moment it really is. With harsh guitar leads to kick the album off, to more melodic and rhythmic sections, the track is dynamic and eclectic, while also retaining an infectious groove that reverberates throughout. A memorable moment on the album. “DEATH” is a moody, slower-paced track that closes the album out beautifully.
SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE’s new album DEATH, ENTERTAINMENT is quite the statement. Bold, experimental yet accessible and highly enjoyable, the group have released one hell of a project. Just listening to it in one go, it’s as if the whole 37 minute experience is contained within one song, one bit of energy that is held together by dynamic guitar leads, frantic and energetic drumming, as well as emotive and angelic vocals throughout that add a softness and aura to the music as a whole. Once again, this album is phenomenal. Go support!