Collections Of Colonies Of Bees could very well become the Green River of Wisconsin post-rock indie, as its members go on to play in different—and possibly better—bands. After a handful of albums, CoCoBees convened with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver for the endlessly hyped Volcano Choir, a band with an inarguably higher profile than Collections. Meanwhile, drummer Jon Mueller has recently gotten his solo project up and running, and now Collections has spawned its greatest side project to date: Thomas Wincek’s All Tiny Creatures, and the band’s debut full-length, Harbors.
Harbors will be friendly territory for those familiar with Wincek’s guitar work in Collections and Volcano Choir, as he hasn’t bailed on the billowy post-soft-rock that provided the anchor for those bands’ experimentation. But All Tiny Creatures splits the difference between Colonies’ instrumental progressivism and Volcano Choir’s electronic meanderings. It’s all about texture and mood over narrative cohesion with All Tiny Creatures, which blends electronic ambient passages with fluttering interlocking guitar riffs and a wide-scope grandeur. The always-building “Holography” is as close to inspirational post-rock as it gets, “Aviation Class” flirts with art-disco, “Cargo Maps” suggests The Sea And Cake soundtracking a Wes Anderson movie, while the fractured light of the album highlight, “Glass Bubbles,” wisps like driven snow. All Tiny Creatures will probably play second fiddle to Volcano Choir for the foreseeable future, but the group shows that Collections Of Colonies Of Bees has a deeper bench than anyone probably realized.