THE BIRD AND THE BEE Interpreting the Masters, Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates (Blue Note Records)
Get used to cuts from The Bird and The Bee’s new album being in heavy rotation wherever the young and their relationship problems mingle.
Just when it seemed we had plundered all there was to steal from the tight-pants, big-sunglasses exuberance of the early 1980s, here comes The Bird and The Bee with its lush nine-song cover album, Interpreting the Masters, Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates. From “I Can’t Go For That,” to “Sara Smiles” and “Maneater,” it’s all here in lushly produced multitracked vocals that don’t stray far from the source. “There’s definitely no irony,” the band insists in a press release. Singer Inara George (the bird) coos breathy vocals over the lush, retro synths of multi-instrumentalist Greg Kurstin (the bee). George’s sultry jazz-influenced wisp lacks the “rock & soul” bravado of Hall & Oates but that’s the point. Signed to stalwart jazz label Blue Note, The Bird and The Bee have instead crafted a slinky electro keyboard sound more akin to Air’s Moon Safari or the electronic tropicalia of Bebel Gilberto. The group’s previous records have shown up on the soundtracks to Grey’s Anatomy, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and the movie of Sex and The City. Get used to cuts from this record being in heavy rotation wherever the young and their relationship problems mingle.
— Casey Sanchez