Occupying a space where both the escapist qualities of psych and the abrasively primal instincts of punk operate at full capacity, i’m so lucky plays out as a supercut of human emotion and frailty; all in under twelve minutes.
Prior to recording i’m so lucky, co-vocalists Zack Schwartz and Rivka Ravede ended their romantic relationship after a decade together. Spirit of the Beehive may not be the first band to enter the creative process under such conditions (s/o to Fleetwood Mac and ABBA), but the rawness with which the band portray vulnerability and, crucially, share their writing credits, only exasperate the stormy conditions in which their new EP was produced.
Opening with stuttered synth notes and an earnest vocal delivery from Schwartz; i’m so lucky’s first track, ‘human debenture’, masquerades as a modest serenade for little over a minute, before Spirit of the Beehive’s knack for discordant and abrasive arrangement makes itself known. Dips in frequency and volume struggle against shouted backing vocals and an increase in tempo before stopping dead at just over the two minute mark.
‘really happening’ will be a familiar structure for longtime fans of the band. A hyperactive collage of bass and noir-inspired vocal samples are paused and resumed as Ravede’s melodic pre-chorus is modulated and mutated to the point of non-recognition.
This is where the Philadelphia trio excel; their penchant for adding salt to sugar and vandalising moments of saccharine sweetness as instantaneously as they are delivered elevates the beauty of their songwriting tenfold and celebrates the extremes of the compositions.
This juxtaposition is never more prevalent than in the pairing of i’m so lucky’s closing tracks: ‘tapeworm’ and ‘natural devotion 2’ (a sequel to a song on their 2016 EP You Are Arrived (But You’ve Been Cheated)). The sonic cacophony of ‘tapeworm’ invasively leaps from the speakers and grabs the listener by the throat before making a sharp u-turn into an understated piano piece.
The four tracks which make up i’m so lucky are a welcome addition to a diverse songbook from a band that revel in the macabre, the oblique and – more importantly – the human. Spirit of the Beehive make paranoid music for paranoid times, but with a whole lot of hope thrown in.
Photo Credit: Luke Ivanovich