EP Review: Beekeeper’s Society – First Year Film School

Bee Keeper's Society CD Review By: Sheena Lyonnais
April 29, 2009
The first thing that caught my eye about Beekeeper’s Society’s First Year Film School EP was the heart they put into their packaging.  Four tracks found themselves blanketed in light cardboard printed in a newsprint fashion, a bio set up like a newspaper article with four individual copies of Polaroids printed with the lyrics.  The bio describes how this EP came together like the processing of black room photography and it strikes me just how much this band cares about the craft of their music.

It gets a little lost after this.  First Year Film School is a very haunting EP in the sense it leaves me feeling rather depressed.  Not emo-Chris-Carrabba depressed, but rather struck by an overall melancholy that even the touches of xylophone can’t shake. The way singer Darcy McMann reflects on life and love in the form of Douglas Coupland novels, film school and Family Ties strikes a strange Canadian sadness we’ve all felt before. It reminds me a little bit of the Postal Service before “Such Great Heights,” but disappointingly less optimistic.
These songs have definite potential, and while they are well rounded they could use a little more life.  The guitars roll beautifully, but the vocals are reserved, suggesting Beekeeper’s Society are afraid to tear things up.  A stronger voice would allow them to lose the xylophone and effects that don’t really make much sense musically anyway. “Family Ties” is the strongest track vocally and "Misshapes and Wake (Bye to Dye)" is the closest to a standout, but even they sound a little shy.
I can tell there is a ton of passion here, but McCann should take notes from Ben Gibbard and Conor Oberst.  Both vocalists, though stylistically different, present similar ideas, but they are much more believable because they dedicate themselves 100 per cent to the vocal aspect of the tracks without sacrificing the mood or the message.  Work on being bold and Beekeeper’s Society won’t have to rely on pretty packaging to stand out.
TTT (out of 5)   

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