She Keeps Bees – Eight Houses

Eight Houses, the new LP from She Keeps Bees (aka Jessica Larrabee and Andy LaPlant is a rough, bruising record with considerable kicks.

This is a slow burner and no mistake. You need to listen into this with some attention as the opener Feather Lighter doesn’t give much away; and it may begin to pass you by as one of those soulful, dolorous introverted records high on feeling and low on grind. And as such, another record that’s got nothing to say except to itself. Well believe me, patience here has its rewards as Eight Houses, the new LP from She Keeps Bees (aka Jessica Larabee and Andy LaPlant) is a rough, bruising record with considerable kicks. 

Once safely past the opener and the opening bars of Breezy you sense that this record’s going to kick off. And it’s of those records that contain an edge raw enough to cut you; though there are quiet moments throughout such as Burning Bowl and poppy, soulful cuts like Radiance. Owl is the first track where you feel the full pull of the opposites; the gradual ratcheting up of the pressure in encapsulated in this slow circular build up; and though it never kicks off it sets up Both Sides (which does) perfectly.  At this point (and with things like Greasy Grass) you start to notice that there is a real feel of PJ Harvey’s Rid of Me here. Listening to this, I can actually remember how I felt when first hearing La H’s record back in 91 or so; that languorous plod which suddenly erupts; revealing a totally new vista.  At times, Eight Houses is volcanic, simmering, blasting out unexpected shards and gobbets of white noise. Best kick off is definitely Raven, which growls and screeches through its allotted four minutes. It’s classic guitar rock.

After listening a few times to this record, I had another look at the cover; which has this girl blowing bubblegum. And it suddenly struck me; the cover looks how this record sounds. That bubblegum is about to pop!