Beekeeper and their debut LP, Be Kept, are self-advertised as a post-pop band burgeoning into the world of math rock dissonance with massive hearts on their experimental Southern Ontarian sleeves. Not sure what that means? Well it’s not certain if the band knows either, but what is clear is that this record of life, small towns and slain dragons was derived from maximum fun and excitement.
The album is delivered with an earnest and raw etiquette. Lyrics are cheeky and clever (“Bruised and all /Tastes sweeter / Does it?”) but every bit as sincere as those made in seriousness and sombreness (“Digging the ground / Not looking for blue skies”). The vocal harmonies of boy/girl sounds and the instrumentation within voice—switching from harsh, staccato rapping to sweet melodic pop swoons—add another layer of character to the already extroverted sound of constant time signature changes and instrument interjections. Some of the best moments are early on in the album; “Table and Bed” features a snappy duet, violins appear within “Sudden Cuckoo” and the jazz odyssey-esque markings of “Novel” are distinctive and help add to the chaotic nature of the song.
The album is a fun and off-kilter glimpse into the Vancouver indie music scene, but it is not, unsurprisingly, a groundbreaking work of art. The experimental fits of rage on “Hurt An Enemy” are full of great, thick guitar lines and raw emotion just as the over-dramatic violin lines in “There’s a Reason” are painfully real in their simplistic composition; however, the sum of the parts are not as great as the original Beekeeper concept. Each song has its moment, but then they tend to lead to or from parts that are uninteresting or just amateur sounding. As a debut, Be Kept is good with its nods to experimentation with both instrumentation and musical blends, but it lacks the ability to enrapture an audience.