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The Bird And The Bee: Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future



The Bird And The Bee

Album: Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future
Label: Blue Note

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It's a tricky thing to make accessible pop that doesn't hide behind clever irony or fall into the soulless, Auto-Tuned suckhole of Top 40 pap. The Bird And The Bee displayed an aptitude for bubbly, tropicalia-laced pop on its excellent debut, and the cumbersomely titled follow-up, Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future, continues that exploration of carefree, happy-making music.

Vocalist Inara George and programmer Greg Kurstin have an affinity for all things pretty and vaguely retro, as her exceedingly pleasant vocals and his lush production attest. It's a formula, yes, but one that works over and over, from kitschy but rich-sounding earworms like "Love Letter To Japan" and "Diamond Dave" (yes, as in Lee Roth) to the more introspective and sadly beautiful "Ray Gun" and "Baby." Only the somewhat plodding "Witch" and a couple of jarring musical interludes lean toward self-indulgence. "Polite Dance Song" is a welcome repeat inclusion from a 2007 EP that subtly showcases George's vocal prowess in the context of a silly hip-hop-influenced goof, a reflection of the underlying skill and craft that make this fluffy-sounding collection of songs cheerily frivolous, but not disposable.