The saying always goes that change is good. If you are a believer in that moto then the new Spirit Of The Beehive record will strike your interest. For the Philadelphia band there is plenty of “change” that runs throughout their fourth LP, ENTERTAINMENT, DEATH, and it has yielded an album that is gorgeously disjointed right from the first track. The group has now shifted into a 3-piece (founding members Zack Schwartz and Rivka Ravede are now joined by new member Corey Wichlin), finds Spirit Of The Beehive on a new label in Saddle Creek Records and even finds them switching up their previous shorter recording process as ENTERTAINMENT, DEATH was developed over four months that included remote writing and self-recording. It has the DIY stamp all over it but it sounds so far from anyone’s bedroom you might not believe it.
From the opening track “Entertainment,” you find yourself confronted with a swirling hail of noise that includes bleeps, take offs and screeches with a backdrop of erratic drums. Quickly the tune calms down and then instantly transforms into an indie pop gem. The song is really the first dose of what is to come because Spirit Of The Beehive consistently pushes your listening abilities as they successfully meld different noises, rhythms, synths, samples, guitars and even strings to create a fantastic indie landscape.
This record is completely different than the bands previous albums as it incorporates a much more elctro-pop element to it but still shines for its oddness that has always been a niche for Spirit Of The Beehive. The fact that the group can transition from a quieter swaying beat and riff into a full Nine Inch Nails industrial rage to finish out “There’s Nothing You Can’t Do” is enough to make anyone take notice. The track then leads you to a more spacey “Wrong Circle” that just floats with its intricate noises which then once again chameleons into “Bad Son” that sounds more like when Sufjan Stevens found the synths.
ENTERTAINMENT, DEATH is really an album you just need to hear. No description can do it real justice because it is such a shape shifter. What seems like a normal chord or musical progression can just get turned upside down in a quarter second. That is the beauty of ENTERTAINMENT, DEATH because it truly has no beginning or end. It just holds time and space which you can spend 5 minutes in or 37 minutes. Whatever your staying time is with this album the same future action will be concluded – you need to hear more!
Key Tracks: “There’s Nothing You Can’t Do” / “The Server Is Immersed” / “Wake Up (In Rotation)”
Artists With Similar Fire: Oneohtrix Point Never / Deerhoof / The Flaming Lips
-Reviewed by Thomas Wilde