The Bees, Sunshine Hit Me

Andrew Perry

By Andrew Perry

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

The Isle of Wight — a modestly sized rock situated midway along England's south coast which hosted legendary free-festival appearances by Dylan, Hendrix and the Who — has always prided itself on a gently separatist mindset. The Bees, the best-known contemporary band on its ever-vibrant music scene, are drenched in that native spirit. They refuse to be pinned down, listing influences as pigeonhole-defyingly diverse as the Incredible String Band and Wu-Tang Clan.

Restless borrowers’ debut record is a wonderfully meandering gem.

This debut album from 2002, recorded in their garden shed, is certainly not samey, drifting between genres — a reggae lilt here ("No Trophy"), a Curtis Mayfield-informed funker there ("Angryman") — as readily as the wooly-hatted twentysomething quintet swap instruments onstage. The album's off-centre joys peak on their tribute to '60s Brazil: their cover of Os Mutantes'"A Minha Menina" is a riot, brilliantly beefed up for the post- Pixies age. Later albums showed more focus, but Sunshine Hit Me is a wonderfully meandering gem.