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Persephone's Bees

Notes From The Underground

(Columbia; US: 29 Aug 2006; UK: 29 Aug 2006)

Like most I’m a bit wary when a beloved local band makes the big jump to the majors. Such moves are almost always accompanied by cries of “sell out” which are, frequently, justified. Fortunately, San Francisco’s Persephone’s Bees has hardly changed their quirky musical stance for their Columbia Records debut. Still in place is the band’s excellent way with a hook and, of course, the silky voice of lead singer Angelina Moysov. Notes From The Underground, while decidedly more polished and produced than other efforts by the band, is still musically schizophrenic in the best way. The band runs from power pop (“Paper Plane”) to uber-catchy sugar pop (“Nice Day”) to surf guitar tempered by psychedelic keyboards on a song sung in Russian (“Muzika Dyla Fil’ma”). Wherever the band’s music goes there’s little doubt that the star of the show is Moysov’s beautiful, sexy voice. She’s the element that often turns average songs into special ones. When she really pushes her voice on songs like “Queen’s Night Out” she sounds a bit like vintage Grace Slick. Perhaps the ultimate disappointment with Notes From The Underground is its lack of adventure. Moysov’s voice can’t raise all the songs here beyond their simple pop rock structure, that’s surely part of the bargain that comes with moving to a major. Still you can’t deny the simple sugar coated pleasure of a song like “Nice Day”.

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