The Bird and The Bee, a Los Angeles-based band, consists of two equal parts of talent and mystery: Greg Kurstin (Bee) and Inara George (Bird). Inara puts out the vocals, while, as they proclaim, Greg “does the rest.” The duo dropped its fourth album, “Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future,” on January 27, 2009.
In each of the band’s three previous releases (“The Bird and The Bee,” “Please Clap Your Hands” and “One Too Many Hearts”), small but impressive musical changes are clear. Lyrical exploration expanded to include more complex topics such as friendship, lust and loss. Musically, the group added more dance rhythms and a tinge of jazz to its sound. The group’s other albums consisted of love ballads, whereas the newest album dives into other issues, such as technology and modern advances in the world, and the pair’s obsession with Diamond Dave (aka David Lee Roth, formerly of ’80s hair band Van Halen). Four albums later, Inara and Greg still have a unique sound that cannot be manufactured.
The song “Ray Gun” illustrates a turn in The Bird and The Bee’s one-of-a-kind musical style. The band’s music has a classic jazz sound, but more technological advances are explored within this album. ”Ray Gun” is about the fast-changing world of weapons, violence and putting world issues out in the open. It describes common feelings of being lost in a world of violence and disaster. Almost everyone can relate to such themes, which helps the audience connect with its music.
The song “My Love” takes a different route and displays some of the group’s charm. The clapping of hands and the soft voice of Inara in this tune are haunting and deeply mesmerizing. The song’s lyrics express one of my favorite questions about the beginning of a relationship: Is the relationship worth the work if you’re not willing to take a risk? Exemplified by lyrics like, “Hey boy, won’t you take me out tonight? / I’m not afraid of all the reasons we shouldn’t try…”; this melody is all about starting anew and letting go of your fears.
“You’re a Cad” is spellbinding. This song wraps its arms around you and warms you from deep within your eardrums. It writhes with the feeling of distaste for someone who treats you badly, then the feeling of relief when you drop him. It shows that The Bird and the Bee can put a playful spin on any story. A familiar French melody that stirs up visions of coffee and striped shirts (ones that we assume the French wear everywhere) starts the song off with a bounce and keeps your ears tuned in closely. The lyrics show progression in the thought process of the dump-er: “I’m a fish on your hook,” turns into “I should be better / but I’m worse,” after a breakup ensues.
Since recording together, Inara and Greg have been featured on movie soundtracks, such as “Sex and the City: The Movie” and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” The song ”Again and Again,” which is not actually on any of their other albums, was also included on the show “Grey’s Anatomy.”
The two met through networking and decided to collaborate musically. “One day after a rehearsal, we hung out near a piano and played all the old songs we knew for three or four hours,” George said during a Music Emissions interview. George and Inara have chemistry together, and their neatly composed notes and interesting lyrics make you want to tap your feet.
Inara’s voice is amazingly intense and almost innocent at the same time. Despite this dualistic tone, however, the advanced sound of her music makes her anything but innocent. Inara is an experienced singer who has a background with various other bands – including her band, Lode – and is even on her way to producing her own solo album at the moment.
The Bird and the Bee is intensely organic and completely mesmerizing all at once. The group is one part pop, two parts new wave and one part dance-rock jams. It can be compared to bands such as Le Tigre because of the group’s fun, jazz-like sounds, dance songs and passion for music. The Bird and the Bee is also reminiscent of The Sounds with melodic songs, eerie tones and a spark that is undeniable.
Published 20 April 2009. All Rights Reserved.
-This was originally posted on Alive Magazine’s website.