Sea of Bees
Feist, Cat Power, PJ Harvey
Looking at times like a very young Bob Dylan, hand dipped in equal parts estrogen and childlike fancy (and I mean that in the nicest possible way), Sea of Bees spins a vulnerable blend of intimate coffee bean folk and gauzy, patchwork pop with a touch more wine than iron.
Julie Baenziger (or Julie Ann Bee) is the woman behind Sea of Bees – a tiny whirlwind of hypnotic innocence, an expansive sadness, an ethereal voice on loan from an angel, fresh wings aflutter, awkwardly standing in a puddle of tears. Her debut album Songs for the Ravens (containing several tracks from her short player aptly titled Bee Eee Pee) is a hand-sewn scrapbook of woebegone fairy tales, flipping the pages with string plucked whimsy.
Playing the majority of the instruments herself – glockenspiel, keys, marimba and slide – Julie creates a heartfelt, fragile universe punctuated with indecision, borderline optimism, love lost and love nearly found again. Sea of Bees runs the gamut from cozy yet crushing ballads to rollicking, mid-tempo runaway trains with a well-worn rumble.
Given Julie’s raw talent and the vaguely watermarked messages hidden below the surface of her emotive lyrics, it’s quite obvious that Sea of Bees has room to explore and grow, and I certainly look forward to hearing more of the gift she’s given us all - that God damned voice - and come the inevitable holiday season, the greatest version of Feliz Navidad I’ve ever heard.