Last Friday saw the release of the fourth studio album from intriguing duo The Bird And The Bee. Recreational Love is half a decade in the making, for no reason other than life getting in the way – this is some how forgivable when you consider that vocalist Incara George is also part of indie-folk supergroup The Living Sisters, and multi-instrumentalist Greg Kurstin is a Grammy-nominated producer who has recently worked with Sia, Ellie Goulding and Charlie XCX. Formed as a band in 2005, the pair have a wealth of experience that’s showcased fantastically in this ten track offering.
It’s an easy, common, and obvious remark to say that The Bird And The Bee make happy music, but it’s one that needs to be made. It’s easy to create a positive, light and dainty sound in singles; just look at the album’s lead single Will You Dance?, a perfect three and a half minute synth laden gem with an addictive chorus. However, it’s not quite so easy to retain that in the more somber tracks, such as penultimate melancholy number We’re Coming To You – maybe it’s the beautifully crafted instrumental that cascades around Incara’s breezy voice that makes these introspect lyrics so captivating.
The band’s more recent work including a tribute to Hall and Oates, and after closely scrutinising this iconic catalogue of music there’s been more than a hint of influence creeping into the arrangements on the duo’s new work. This intricacy in creativity is one of the crowning joys of the album, though the whole work is a real joy to listen to. With electro pops swimming in synths – just look at the backing to Jenny whilst Incara’s range is flaunted – it’s hard to get away from the attention to detail that’s been paid to every second of the album.
This newness isn’t without a hint of retro, a nostalgic hum present in every track but prevailing in moments such as the opening of Los Angeles and again in the deadpan vocals, whilst bass plays around in the commencement of Doctor preceding No Doubt-esque lyricism with a Gwen Stefani attitude to match – an easy favourite off the album for me.
Despite the fragility and sheer happiness in the vocals, penultimate We’re Coming To You has a melodic determination that stretches through the spectacular instrumentals the four minutes number boasts. Closing Lovey Dovey drifts from the pop into the nostalgia with a music box backing and hauntingly beautiful vocals, returning to the quirky contrasts that opened the album.
The delicacy and care in this album makes Recreational Love a beautifully original creation and true work of art, the sort of music that politely asks for your respect in a manner too kind yet forceful to refuse. 10/10.
You can watch the video for Will You Dance? below.