Excellent review of Bee and Flower’s upcoming album, Suspension:
The word “suspension” is defined as a hiatus or cessation; as the shock-absorbing guts of a vehicle; or as several prolonged tones bleeding into one another. Each of these meanings seems entirely appropriate for Bee and Flower’s third album, their first after four years away from the limelight.
From a musical perspective, bassist-singer-bandleader Dana Schechter warmly embraces contrasts and smoothes them to the point where sonorous comfort becomes barely distinguishable from lurking unease. Her sensuous voice and dusky melodies convert deep yearning into cool elegance, while a stiff-backed rhythm section and recently returned cofounder Lynn Wright’s cantankerous guitar flirt with disquiet. The embellishments of original violinist Jon Petrow, also since reunited with the group, add equal parts melancholy and luster.
Unapologetic beauty softens deceptively knotty song structures that refuse to detract from the pleasures of luxuriant arrangements, blushing pop, and smoky atmospheres. The single “Jackson,” with its wistful chorus and affable yet never simple hooks, epitomizes this mélange of the sublime, the sinister, and the sexy.
Bee and Flower’s continental makeup—a foot in New York, a second in Berlin, roots stretching from San Francisco to the American South—guarantees a certain piquant schizophrenia, but you’ll only notice it if you go searching for it. A far wiser idea is to relax, pour yourself something strong, and get lost in the gracefully ecstatic throes of Suspension.
Jordan N. Mamone, New York City, February 15, 2011