Album: Sea of Bees, Songs for the Ravens (Heavenly)

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The Independent Culture

Currently touring the UK, Sea of Bees is the nom-de-disque of the Californian singer Julie Baenziger, aka Julie Ann Bee, whose debut album reveals a similar mix of emotional openness and affinity for the natural world as Laura Veirs, with something of Veirs's inquistive approach to musical textures, too.

There's a mesmeric appeal to Baenziger's vulnerable voice on the unusual torch-song "Sidepain" and especially the single "Wizbot", where the eerily double-tracked vocal chimes with the subtle marimba resonating beneath the piano and guitar. Elsewhere, "Willis" employs a Tunng-style music-box bricolage of percussion, and "Marmalade" offers haunted Americana in the manner of Calexico, while the piano and cello of "Blind" closes the album with a clumsy grace that perfectly evokes the album's overall mood of whimsical, baffled affection.

DOWNLOAD THIS Wizbot; Sidepain; Marmalade; Blind