Click to hear: “Gonna Need Some Coffee“
Covered in Bees is the Hardest Rockin’ Band in Vacationland. That’s not one of their corny lines, it’s mine, but they can have it, because a.) it’s true, and b.) I owe them something. Look what they gave me to review (and keep forever): a double CD containing a new album of ass-kicking “death punk” songs and the comic radio play upon which the songs are based, written and performed by the Bees themselves!
Granted, it’s been five long years since CIB released new material (2010’s Portland Steel), but the break hasn’t dimmed their wit or diminished their ferocity. They’re as funny and furious as ever on Corpse in the Mattress Motor Lodge, melding geek humor with huge rock riffs and hooks.
The Bees are like brainy, bored teenagers trying to kill a suburban Sunday by coming up with goofy projects in the basement. Take their 2008 release, 24 Hour Album, when they gave themselves the task of writing and recording an entire album in a day’s time. Sure, it’s a little rough around the edges, and some of the 19 tracks are filler or skits, but overall it fuckin’ slays.
Now it’s, Hey, let’s make a play! And the soundtrack will be the new album! The radio play is also rough around the edges, low- budget and a tad confusing. Listeners who aren’t already fans may not get many of the jokes (fans will be cracking up throughout), but as a fun vehicle to deliver the rock, it’s more than serviceable.
And deliver the rock they do, in aces of spades. Hounded by Tristan Gallagher’s pounding drums, “Scared to Death of the Living Dead” builds to a precipitous climax and stage-dives right off the edge. Guitarist Doug Porter gives the title track an epic thematic flourish, and he and bassist brother Ed “Eddie Numbers” Porter lock horns on a host of killer riffs. Frontman Boo bellows and sneers in the death-metal-meets-punk style they’ve perfected, dripping with sweat and charisma on every track.
When you pick up this double album this holiday season, be sure to listen all the way through both discs. The first has a hidden track, a medley of two covers that will knock your socks off and then burn them in a pile at your bare feet. The second ends with a teaser for a sequel, Corpse 2: Time Corpse. Or perhaps it’s a prequel. Either way, I can’t wait.
— Chris Busby
Covered in Bees plays a CD release show on Sat., Nov. 28, at Geno’s (625 Congress St., Portland), with The Swampmen and Anarkitty. Details at coveredinbees.net.