SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE
with Horse Jumper of Love
Upstairs, All Ages
DOORS: 8:00 PM // SHOW: 9:00 PM
Friday December 7, 2018
Songbyrd Vinyl Lounge
D: 8:00 // S: 9:00 PM; $7 suggested donation
If it were up to fellow indie rock musicians, *Pleasure Suck would be one of the most hyped albums of 2017. But the Spirit of the Beehive *exist to confound. Their new LP elevates purity of vision over clarity from a band whose desire to be easily understood is far down on their list of priorities. The Bandcamp genre tags on their self-titled 2014 debut said it best: “benzos,” “klonopin,” “poppers,” “weed,” “weird beer,” “whiskey,” and “xanax.” While the Spirit of the Beehive’s earliest work could pass for shoegaze, it was defined by an unusually squalorous ambience, fueled by cheap highs and bad vibes. This is one of the few things that has remained constant about the band. “I just ate three grams of magic mushrooms,” a voice mutters halfway through “Future Looks Bright (It’s Blinding),” the only time the Spirit of the Beehive are ever direct about anything on Pleasure Suck.
The band simply tags itself as “alternative” this time out, a nebulous term that’s actually an accurate way to describe TSOTB’s counterintuitive lo-fi songcraft. Think Elephant 6 by way of Ween, whimsical and scatalogical, held together by Scotch tape and Scotchgard. “I start my walk, I step in shit,” Zack Schwartz sings on the album’s first lyric, setting in motion a kaleidoscope of only shades of yellow, orange, and brown.
When the Spirit of the Beehive lose focus, they veer into ugliness for its own sake, and the effect is oddly alluring. But when they let some light in and it hits just right,Pleasure Suck emanates an autumnal, psych-folk warmth. The brilliant single “Ricky (Caught Me Tryin’)” fashions a memorable chorus (“You don't need an education...you don't need to go to college”) by linking two bands who once traded in similarly feral bursts of noise. At points, Pleasure Suck recalls the urban-paganism of Animal Collective before Sung Tongs , though it’s the misanthropy of later Pink Floydthat becomes an unexpected through line. - Pitchfork
Boston's Horse Jumper of Love are a self-proclaimed “slow rock” trio that, despite declaring themselves a band, more strongly resemble a solo project. A few years into their career, the group’s already busted into the top tier of the Boston house show scene—a considerable accomplishment for any young rock band, considering the scene’s predilections towards snoozy folk and hostile hardcore. But while Horse Jumper of Love's live performances recall the low, slow burn of bands like Silver Jews and Arab Strap, their Bandcamp output hinges on one man: lyricist and frontman Dimitri Giannopoulos, whose combination of wan croons, melancholic strumming, and ramshackle production place the group’s erstwhile recordings in Microphones territory.