Friday, November 4, 2011

Little Tybee - Humorous to Bees (2011)

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About two months ago when I was first introduced to Atlanta folk group Little Tybee, I used their sophomore album Humorous to Bees as a reference point and measure of how great my like of them was. It’s not only because Little Tybee juggle a mass of instruments or craft the delightful kind of orchestral pop that seems to be my Achilles heel but because the album is just plain good.

Each song on Humorous to Bees is not only an incredibly well written and spectacularly arranged but also intensely strong. That’s a pretty impressive feat for a 12 song album. Even the 30 second eponymous album opener is a worthwhile bit of composition. I mentioned in my intro that what separates Little Tybee from the other folk pop collectives around is their musical egalitarianism and that’s still true but it’s also the fact that Little Tybee has a talent for remarkable stunning arrangements. Everything from the miniscule – the smile-inducing glockenspiel and pizzicato in “The Wind Will Blow You Love” or those unexpected little blue notes that color so many of the album's songs to the grandiose moments of unfettered flights of fancy right after subtle build ups.

In a year that’s been characterized with spectacular debuts and so-so follow ups, it’s a real treat to get to hear an album like Little Tybee’s Humorous to Bees – it’s finely tuned and wonderfully polished but not overly so, mature without being condescending, and just filled with fantastic musical moments all around. It both sets my expectations high for their next outing as well as sets a brand new standard for the folk orchestra I love so much. Humorous to Bees in an absolute music marvel filled with just the right mix of unpredictability, sincere, and well-crafted songwriting. A definite must listen for anyone claiming to listen to music with substance.

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