April 7, 2010

Test Spin: The Bird and the Bee

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Listening to The Bird and the Bee’s new album, Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 1 (A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates) is like opening up a long-submerged time capsule from the 1970s, only without all the polyester, bell-bottom jeans and Oates-esque caterpillar mustaches. Daryl Hall and John Oates, better known as Hall & Oates, dominated the pop music scene in the late ’70s and early ’80s with a fun and funky, rock-meets-soul kind of sound and amazing lyrics that landed them in the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003. Now, with the help of vocalist Inara George (“the bird”) and multi-instrumentalist Greg Kurstin (“the bee”), the songs of  Hall & Oates are revamped for the 21st century.Unlike your typical cover album, Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 1 is a tribute to both bands, as it shows off the lyrical genius of Hall & Oates as well as the creativity of George and Kurstin. The Bird and the Bee infuse Hall & Oates’ greatest hits with their own indie sound, creating something new and different. It’s clear that the two have fun with this album. With a voice that oozes sensuality George takes “Maneater,” the biggest hit of Hall & Oates’ career, and gives it a seductive edge. What makes her so powerful as a singer is her ability to infiltrate the original heart-felt lyrics and make them her own. Geoge uses her bluesy, soulful voice to sneak sinful innuendos into the songs. The lyrics, “Now I’ll do anything you want me to,” take on a whole new meaning under her guidance.Kurstin, on the other hand, remasters the songs from the instrumental stand point. He gives “I Can’t Go for That” and “Rich Girl” an electronic make-over with a touch of jazz influence that re-awakes the forgotten songs of the past.The Bird and the Bee inject a breezy, sunshiny feel into every song. Coming just in time for spring, it’s a remarkably refreshing album that satiates the curiosity of how master lyricists from the ’70s would fit in with today’s music.


Original Author: Heather McAdams