By: Eric G.
Some bands have that unique ability to sound completely disturbed without really being showy about it. Sick Bees is one of those bands. On the surface the sound isn’t too unfamiliar: bipolar, discordant guitars, strained female vocals, and volatile dynamics, but at the core is true damage. Starla’s songs are emotionally exposed and full of conflicting tones. One moment she sounds perfectly innocent and sincere and the next she’s growling like girls with multiple personality disorders do in the movies. The music has an amateurish charm, but it rocks all the same.
Sick Bees employs a post-punk aesthetic in its aural dissection, but the band isn’t afraid to couple a cheesy metal riff with a toy piano line. If you heard this record playing in a record store, you would immediately go up to the counter to ask what’s playing- it stands out that much. Starla’s vocals deserve much of the credit. She’s got some demons to fend off, if her voice is any indication. Her freakish delivery makes those self-proclaimed “troubled artists” like Tori Amos, Alanis Morrissette, and Courtney Love sound like browbeaten housewives.
“Saint Helen’s” combines a jagged and staccato guitar sound with gravelly vocals and smooth harmonies. It doesn’t make any sense, but it sounds crazy cool. “Strawhat’s Dogs” starts off posing as the previous song’s innocent twin: simple and clean guitars sustain pristine vocals. It sounds like an outtake from Beat Happening’s Black Candy, but by the end it sounds more like Bleach-era Nirvana. The riffs pluck out strange combinations of notes that are alternately tuned. “Brain Dead Daddy” is both desperate and endearing the way Starla seems to implore the chorus. The rhythms may be uneven, but they are tight as hell. My Pleasure is a dark and exploratory album, plunging the depths of mania and alienation, and I can’t recommend it enough.