Voice Of The Beehive: Let It Bee (1988)

1988 was kind of a transitional year for me. I'd graduated college, losing access to the steady stream of new indie releases I'd had on the college radio station; and I was starting law school, which is not exactly a prime environment for new musical discoveries. Plus it just seemed like a period of malaise in the rock world, somewhere between the jangly guitar rock and post-punk/post-new wave college radio heyday of the '80s and the not-yet-arrived alt.rock '90s.

One bright spot at the time was the rise in women-helmed indie pop bands, acts like the Primitives and the Darling Buds and Transvision Vamp. Voice of the Beehive, led by sisters Tracey Bryn and Melissa Brooke Belland (originally from California but living in London), fit comfortably in that space, their divided roots contributing elements of the Go-Gos' energetic new wave pop as well as the emergent pre-Britpop stylings of the newer UK bands. (The original VotB also included a few former members of Madness, contributing to the debut's playfulness.)

It's mostly buoyant power pop with an infusion of some '60s girl-group nostalgia, with a bit less edge than the post-Jesus and Mary Chain buzz that permeated some of those other bands. It's also got a touch of distinctively '80s aesthetics to it, but fortunately the album holds up ok without sounding too dated.

The stand-out here is "Trust Me," an effervescent punch of sexual politics with a Bo Diddley beat; it's a killer power pop track that wowed me then and still sounds great today. Opening track "Beat Of Love" is comparably fun, "I Say Nothing" is thoroughly perky, while the midtempo "Don't Call Me Baby" is the perfect blend of the Go-Go's and 60s girl groups.

Their two subsequent albums were a bit less immediate, but still charming (the slow-burning "Monsters and Angels" off 1991's Honey Lingers could be their finest moment).

Here's the video for "Don't Call Me Baby":
...and "I Say Nothing":
 ...and "I Walk The Earth":
 Here's a live "Trust Me" from a recent reunion gig:
And as long as we're here, here's "Monsters and Angels" from the follow-up: