Confession time. I am a latecomer to She Keeps Bees. The acoustic rock band have been making music for years and when I discovered Kinship it was one of those moments when an album feels completely at home. Like a well-worn shoe or an old friend – the album is comfortably warm.
This in part is down to the soft production. The drums are warmed up but with the punch moved to the bass. The cymbal and shakers are low and slow. The guitar is a mixture of strum and fingers, often embellished with electric piano or Rhodes. When paired with the calming and flexible voice of Jessica – it all sounds like cheesy mash potato where only the good stuff is used and it is creamy goodness.
‘Kinship’ is never dull or boring though. It simply knows how to breathe and be mutually respectful of the space each instrument needs. There’s a recurring theme in the lyrics about being symbiotic and I feel like the entire album practices this. Nothing feels overblown or undercooked. This is chilled out folk with a power pose. When the album gets a little more intense, it is interesting to note that the lyrics begin to speak of that symbiosis being out of balance. I love it when the lyrics and music connect together like that and She Keeps Bees works that line beautifully.
There are a few standout tracks that really sunk deep on first listen though. ‘First quarter moon’ is a gorgeous lullaby. ‘Ocean’ is a powerful acoustic rock anthem whereas the title track ‘Kinship’ is a rumbling percussive caravan of thoughts and feelings. ‘Queen of Cups’ is so free and easy as it slides down the chords like a curious slinky whilst ‘Breaking Weight’ adds elements of soul to the folk-rock with a rousing vocal performance backed with vintage strings.
‘Kinship’ blew me away with its direct simplicity on its surface and hidden depth underneath. I’ve since been grabbing a new She Keeps Bees album each payday and have regretted nothing. Isn’t it great when you get a new discovery that leads to a back catalogue of awesomeness? Welcome to She Keeps Bees – this gets an A!
Recommended track: Ocean
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