Bee Stingsby BMX Bandits
For over two decades, Duglas T. Stewart and his BMX buddies have been creating some of the finest pop music to ever grace the U.K.'s indie rock charts. While they haven't taken the world by storm, they've built an intensely loyal fanbase in Europe and Japan while making inroads in the U.S. The only member who has remained constant throughout the years has been Duglas, while past members have gone on to form the Soup Dragons, Superstar, Teenage Fanclub, and other like-minded outfits. While the bandmembers change with each release, the Bandits' musical focus remains unchanged: pure pop that touches the heart. Whether the song is lush and romantic or a tad bit lightweight, Duglas manages to continually create albums that feel like old friends: warm, passionate, and inviting. When longtime bandmember Francis McDonald left the band in the early 00s, it seemed like Duglas might have lost his greatest ally. When the album My Chain was released in 2006, the results sounded, understandably, like a Duglas solo album, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The album lacked the big, bouncy moments that the Bandits were best known for, replaced with a melancholy vibe that was beautiful and heartbreaking but not a whole lot of fun. With Bee Stings, things seem to be a bit more upbeat in Duglas' world. While it may not be as rockin' as their '90s albums Life Goes On or Gettin' Dirty, the songs are more upbeat and cohesive than those on My Chain and the results are nothing less than wonderful. Imagine Burt Bacharach, Serge Gainsbourg, Brian Wilson, and Jimmy Webb in a recording studio, crafting an album of intense beauty filled with soft, whispering melodies that seem to float on air and you might understand where Bee Stings fits in the musical scheme of things. Duglas' voice has matured and he approaches each song with heart and passion. His latest BMX ally is the beautiful Rachel Mackenzie, who handles half the lead vocals. Her voice is soft, sweet, and gentle and not unlike prime Olivia Newton-John (minus the glossy production). Her duets with Duglas sound genuine and sincere, a match made in musical heaven. The songs on Bee Stings are beautiful mini symphonies that recall the abovementioned songwriters while remaining distinctly BMX Bandits. "The Last Song" is the closest that this album gets to the classic Bandits sound, although "Foggy," "Doorways," "Elegant Lines," and "Sing the Things" keep things a little more upbeat. When things get lovely, as they do on "Just Remember I'm a Woman" and "After I Made Love to You," the album becomes a slice of heaven on earth. Thank God for Duglas T. Stewart and BMX Bandits.
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Performance CreditsBMX Bandits Primary Artist
Evie Sands Background Vocals
David Scott Organ,Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Bass,Percussion,Piano,Glockenspiel,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Human Whistle,Group Member
Duglas T. Stewart Percussion,Vocals,Group Member
Brian McEwan Bass,Group Member
Stuart Kidd Acoustic Guitar,Percussion,Drums,Vocals,Human Whistle,Group Member
Rachel Mackenzie Piano,Glockenspiel,Keyboards,Vocals,Group Member
Technical CreditsDavid Scott Producer,Engineer
Duglas T. Stewart Producer
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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After an almost Duglas T Stewart solo album with the previous BMX Bandits release My Chain this is something very different. BMX Bandits now have a second lead vocalist, a lady called Rachel. At first I was worried when I heard of this, another big change in the group. I wasn't sure I wanted to hear some girl singing as many lead vocals as Duglas on a BMX album but I should have trusted them. Rachel's voice fits into BMX Bandits world and sound perfectly. The songs she sings on the album sound like they could have been recorded by Dusty Springfield or Bobbie Gentry. Rachel's voice is sweet and soft and vulnerable. The story of this album seems of a man and a woman both wounded by love and looking to love again. David Scott's role in the group seems to have grown in prominence with a number of cowrites with Stewart. The opening track Take Me To Heaven is one of BMX Bandits finest pure pop moments and has such a hooky chorus. Doorways might be my new favourite BMX track and must be Stewart's most sophisticated song thus far. Mackenzie's superb vocals on this track perfectly captured the heartbreak and tenderness in Stewart's lyrics and music. Although Bee Stings is another album about heartbreak it is not just sad it is one of the most uplifting albums I have heard in a while.