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The Bird and the Bee

Please Clap Your Hands

(Blue Note; US: 25 Sep 2007; UK: Available as import)

“You’ve got the brains / I’ve got the looks / Let’s make lots of money”


So goes the immortal Pet Shop Boys song “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)”. The Bird and the Bee applies a similar aesthetic to their music-making: Greg Kurstin plays all of the instruments while Inara George does all of the vocals and looks pretty. Following their well-received debut LP in January, they deliver the year-closing Please Clap Your Hands EP, and—shock and awe—it sounds a lot like their debut. It also shares another interesting aspect of their debut: quality songs. “Polite Dance Song” comes off like Zero 7 doing an angry cover of a Maroon 5 song, and it works quite well (especially with George cooing out terms like “crazy-ass beat” with total conviction). “Man” carries the same wistful vibe of U.K. act Bat for Lashes, but with a distinctly European keyboard-flair. “The Races” is a fine song by itself, but in following “Polite Dance Song” and “Man”, it comes off as something of a musical retread of what preceded it (debut LP included). Yet it’s the retro-styled pop of the infectious “So You Say” that is the clear winner: sunny background vocal harmonies intermingling with “96 Tears” keyboards and a distinct dance aesthetic. The fact that it closes with a less-schmaltzy take on the Bee Gee’s “How Deep Is Your Love” is an added bonus. They got the brains & they got the looks: just watch them make a lot of money.

Rating:

Evan Sawdey started contributing to PopMatters in late 2005, and has also had his work featured in publications such as SLUG Magazine, The Metro (U.K.), Soundvenue Magazine (Denmark), the Daily Dot, and multiple national newspapers. Evan has been a guest on RevotTV's "Revolt Live!" as well as WNYC's Soundcheck (an NPR affiliate), was the Executive Producer for the Good With Words: A Tribute to Benjamin Durdle album (available for free at GoodWithWordsAlbum.com), and wrote the liner notes for the 2011 re-release of Andre Cymone's hit 1985 album A.C. (Big Break Records), the 2012 re-release of 'Til Tuesday's 1985 debut Voices Carry (Hot Shot Records), and many others. He currently resides in Chicago, Illinois. You can follow him @SawdEye should you be so inclined.


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