Bees in a Bottle – Quiet Room
Bees in a Bottle are a female-fronted, acoustic based, indie-rock quartet from in and around Philadelphia, PA. Formed in 2010, and originally a guitar duo comprised of husband and wife Christine and Chad McAllister, they added drummer Ian Vogen in 2011, and recently included electric bassist Leland Plumridge to round out the band. While the addition of drums and bass added to the ability of the songs to stretch out into some electric forays, the music remains acoustic guitar based, and is carried by Ms. McAllister’s voice.
The full band released their debut album together, Quiet Room, this past June. As its title suggests, the album consists of soothing songs that may lull you into your quiet place as they wash over the listener. Ms. McAllister is Bees in a Bottle’s chief songwriter, handling the music and lyrics, with her husband having co-writing credits on a handful of songs, and that seems to be just fine with the band as they create the soundscape of her vision with crisp drumbeats, steady, driving bass lines, and some beautiful guitar work, whether acoustic or electric. She is a story teller with her lyrics; they are poetic, some with straightforward meanings and others full of allusions and more elusive meanings.
Quiet Room opens with the track “Lost,” one of the three with Mr. McAllister credited as a co-writer. Its shuffle drumbeat, and simple guitar and bass line over the acoustic rhythm guitar signals the flavor of the tunes to come as Ms. McAllister’s voice, more soft, sweet, and soaring, then sultry or gritty, takes the listener into her fold telling a story of staying strong while lost in life. The album rolls along with this theme into “Elusive Grin,” and then throws the short instrumental “Blue,” which leads into “Out of the Blue,” a song for a dark candle lit room on a lonely night.
The band kicks it back up a notch with “Three Walls,” giving a little electric rock out to their groove, before falling back into their acoustic side with “Not Like Ours,” and giving themselves a country feel with “I Still See Your Face,” and “Summer Nap.” The album does slow down a bit and creep through its closing numbers, the songs are still well written and performed, but by the time the band leads you to the album’s conclusion of “Finally,” there’s a chance the listener may have been lulled too far into their own “quiet place,” and dozed off, or have gotten lost in a household chore they began with the music that they are now paying more attention to then the music itself. That could just be one listener though, because the songs remain good, and true to the band and album’s nature while carrying it through to the end, so there may be many on board and moved by each song.
Overall, Quiet Room by Bees in a Bottle is a good, solid album full of well written songs with strong instrumentation and beautiful vocals. It is appropriately named as it will invite you to sit down and find your quiet place with that band, and to stay there with them as long as you want.
WORDKRAPHT Rating: 3 Stars
Album Name: Quiet Room
Date Released: June, 2013
Genre: acoustic, indie rock
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Band Members: Christine McAllister (guitar, vocals), Chad McAllister (guitar), Ian Vogen (drums), Leland Plumridge (bass)