Sea of Bees - Songs for the Ravens (3 stars)

Country-rock debut from Sacramento's Julie Ann Bee is haunting and compelling

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Sea of Bees - Songs for the Ravens

(Heavenly Recordings)

This dreamy country-rock debut from Sacramento chanteuse Julie Ann Bee – or Julie Baenziger, or Sea of Bees – has attracted fans like Grandaddy deity Jason Lytle, and this comes as little surprise: its fusion of driving acoustic serenades (‘Wizbot’) and slow-burning piano chorales (‘Willis’) can be entrancing.

The album’s opener, ‘Gnomes’, echoes Leonard Cohen’s woozy torch-song, ‘Dance Me To The End of Love’, and The Sundays are called to mind on ‘Fyre’, but the mid-tempo multi-layered, jangly harmonics can get a bit tiresome. Still, any ennui is assuaged by epic centrepiece, ‘Marmalade’: its plunging, slow-burning, heavenly pop is haunting and compelling.

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