She Keeps Bees, “Owl”

Jayson Greene

By Jayson Greene

on 08.14.14 in Listen to This

Over a melancholy and simple arpeggiated electric guitar, Jessica Larrabee of She Keeps Bees sings in a dusky monotone: “I will follow the sound of the owls/Bless this house.” Small shivers of horns prickle like gooseflesh. This is how “Owl” begins—like the reduction sauce of a Memphis soul number, with all the body heat evaporated. But the heat drifts back in as more guitars glimmer into the mix, followed by backing vocals. Larabbee’s voice picks up in urgency and she leans closer to us. Her lyrics are evasive, despite her clearly present voice and the spare arrangements, partly because her enunciation is slightly eccentric, but evocative words punch through: “Sandpaper and gold”; “DESIRE!” The truth is in the mood, however, and there’s enough truth to be felt here to stiffen your back.