Modern Retro Pop
Los Angeles-based indie duo The Bird and the Bee (consisting of Inara George and Greg Kurstin) are making a comeback after a four year hiatus with their new sugary-sweet pop record Recreational Love.
The Bird and the Bee seem to have created their own personal brand of retro pop with Recreational Love. Tracks such as “We’re Coming to You” emit a whimsical atmosphere complete with dream-like synthesizers, slightly reminiscent of the vibe of an ’80s middle school dance. (In the best way imaginable, strangely enough.) The majority of the record is clean and streamlined: it is smooth lounge music, with just the right amount of retro pop infusion. Although at times the tracks on Recreational Love teeter on the verge of being slightly repetitious, George’s lilting, effortless and almost hypnotic vocals manage to keep the listener engaged.
As one would expect with a title like Recreational Love, the album delivers its fair share of love songs, but each refreshingly different from the last, and coming from seemingly variant perspectives. “Los Angeles” is an ode to the city, expressing a passionate and protective point of view towards the hometown of The Bird and the Bee, with lyrics such as “Los Angeles, Los Angeles / Don’t ever let them change you / They don’t know you like I do”.
“Runaway” shows us a rawer and more beseeching outlook on love, as it features George attempting to entice a lover to stay; “Don’t you run away/ Baby we could rule this town.” “Doctor” is a darker track, less teenage star-crossed infatuation and more burnt-out adult desperation.
The last track, “Lovey Dovey,” is saved from coming dangerously close to elevator music territory by George’s unconventional and charming vocals. It’s almost a lullaby: the combination of George’s crooning intermingled with a beat reminiscent of a slow waltz is enough to make anyone feel a tad slumbersome.
Although some may be put off by the ’70s martini lounge atmosphere The Bird and the Bee’s Recreational Love emits, the record has just enough of a modern touch, thanks to its sparkling synthesizers and off-kilter vocals to keep from coming across as too dated.