Hearing the opening guitar riff of "Be Mine," the first track on this six-song EP Media Cliff, fills me with rage. It inspires such stark feelings of nostalgia that the fact I can't identify its origins saddens me until my tears are transformed into flames. I want to say it's from an episode of “The Adventures of Pete & Pete” but I'm just not sure.Actually, all six of these songs could fit into a show like “The Adventures of Pete & Pete.” Are there any shows like that anymore? If you're thinking of producing one please enlist The Bee Shells to help you with the score.
This is up-tempo, crunchy garage pop that features a vocalist who sounds a lot like the vocalist for Neon Trees, albeit with a much larger set of balls. The music itself is just fun, mostly sad-eyed romps through simple chord changes and even drumming. The guitar playing has a distinctive twang that tinges the songs with a bit of country, especially in "Scarred" where it casually whines in the background as an acoustic guitar halts the music and waits for the vocalist to start it up again. You also have songs like "I Will Not Lie To You" which are short digestible, catchy song that are not to start humming along with.
The best song is the last, "Smile." "Why won't you smile/I'll give you anything," the song implores over uppity piano playing and the same sunset guitar strumming that works so well for the chilled music. Many of the songs have the same sense of longing for a love that may be too premature to define, but every song, despite starting off softly, finishes strong. The ideas presented could've fallen at any moment, but the musicians are talented enough to know when to reel in their sounds, when to pressurize and when to release. The album never trips over itself, like there aren't any musical errors and everything sounds in place, and in the end you're satisfied with what The Bee Shells offer: the after-hours songs you never recorded.
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