Lost Bees is the fourth full length from Missouri’s The Life and Times, and represents their most singular and cohesive release so far. The band have been quietly developing their craft since 2002 and have combined the disparate elements that they’ve utilised over the past 12 years into a new formula.
The album opens with ‘Again’, a stab of alternative rock that calls to mind the shoe-gaze leanings of Silversun Pickups, allowing the three piece to create a thick wall of sound overlaid with a dreamy vocal. The fuzzy bass that fills out the bottom end of the album calls for some comparisons to the 1990’s heyday of alternative rock, with the second track ‘Ice Cream Eyes’ bearing some resemblance to Queens of the Stone Age, both in the riffs and the vocals, which hit a Josh Homme-esque falsetto in the chorus. It’s a strong opening, demonstrating some of the band’s most accomplished songwriting to date.
‘Eyes and Teeth’ features some interesting electronic sounds, which creates a satisfying sense of contrast with the first two tracks. You might want to skip the last thirty seconds though, which consist of a repetitive, pulsating synth sound and little else. It does however flow nicely into the next track ‘Maserati’, an instrumental with sprawling progressive guitar parts and some cool dynamic shifts. Within four tracks the band prove themselves to be a band with more than a few strings in their bow.
The album continues in much the same way, with the prominent sound being the fuzzed out shoegaze style of alternative rock. At times the guitars have a little Biffy Clyro in their sound, and much like Biffy’s work, Lost Bees leaves you thinking that it’s going to be a challenge for a three piece to recreate it live.
‘Palatine’ features acoustic guitar and echoing vocals, with some interesting texture from an electric guitar. The album’s at its most interesting when The Life and Times throw something a little unconventional at you, as they do again in final track ‘God Only Knows’, which isn’t a Beach Boys cover, but an eight minute behemoth. It’s worth sticking with, as the quiet opening builds into a middle section dirge that sounds like sludgy stoner rock. It’s a great end to one of the most interesting alternative rock albums of the year so far.