All over the shop
The Bees seem to have made their reputation by being a bit left of the ordinary and one of they acts who can't quite be pigeonholed apart from being lumped in with other bands who can't quite be pigeonholed either. 'Octopus' carries on this tradition but listeners whose musical knowledge dates back around 10 years or so will surely recognise the ghost of Gomez. Yes, Gomez are still a current band but their heyday and legacy dates back and on this showing, The Bees look certain to be carrying in the vein of gallant triers with a loyal fanbase but always being seen as not quite consistent enough for a mainstream following.
There's so much going that it can be breathless trying to keep up, from the opening track 'Who Cares What The Question Is?' with its slide blues stomp to the brass intro to 'Got To Let Go' and that's just two styles. There's 60s soul, there's swamp, there's almost a disco strut funk on '(This Is For The) Better Days', which is so lazy it's almost comatose.
Of course, this variety will come as no surprise from a band who have released 'A Minha Menina' or 'Chicken Payback', two tracks which have cluttered the airwaves and adverts, being hummed and noted by thousands of people and yet giving very little about the artist away.
There's quirkiness to The Bees that comes through greatly and not many bands would attempt a rhyming run that contains "Texas, breakfast and Lexus" but they manage to pull it off with an impish grin on their faces. This is the sort of thing that polarises opinion about the band, what some find as frothy fun will find childish and simple.
And this sort of conflict runs through the very heart of The Bees, in a way that the Marmite adverts focussed on, there's a love / hate thing going on here. With an album that jumps from genre to genre so it sounds like a (admittedly well pieced together) compilation album which will appeal to many as the album sounds fresh, even after a few plays.
Conversely, the album seems really long as there is no continuity between the tracks, just one about face after another, which sometimes grates. So there you have it, at times 'Octopus' is great, at others it grates. The Bees are likely to be around for years, reinventing themselves regularly which is great but leaves you with the impression that if you miss an album, the next one will be along soon enough and will offer pretty much the same thing. The eventual Greatest Hits should do the job nicely.