Minneapolis band Mouthful of Bees' first album, The End, opens with the sunshine and light breeze of spring, taking listeners on a tour reminiscent of the four seasons as tracks progress from sunlight infused whimsy to the depths of winter doldrums and back to the first opening flower bulbs announcing the oncoming warmth.
Katelyn Farstad's shaky drumming on the first track, "The Now," sounds like a baby deer trying to stand for the first time, as the sunny, surf-rock guitars bounce and wobble as lead singer, Chris Farstad's, lackadaisical vocals float through the song like fluffy clouds in an otherwise blue sky.
The spring-time feeling continues on "Jessica," with the tempo dropping enough to entice you to spread out a blanket in the park and enjoy the afternoon sun with a cool beer (or alternative beverage for the band members — none of them are of drinking age).
As the songs progress, you can envision yourself listing to The End as the weather warms up, the sun comes out, and you finally exile your sweaters into storage. "Under the Glacier" drives you outdoors to throw around the Frisbee with friends, and "I Saw a Golden Light" could easily be overheard coming from the loudspeakers as you while away the steamy afternoon enjoying the outdoor seating of your local pub.
But the mood changes, just like the seasons, as "Serpent" takes you into fall (maybe a little too prematurely) when all you wanted to do is have summer last a little longer. Micky Alfano's bass and Mark Ritsema's guitar sound like falling leaves, eventually drying up and crackling under your shoes.
"Talking" reminds you of those days sipping coffee as you stroll the sidewalk with friends, wearing a scarf to ward off the autumnal chill, and "Get Out" is the kind of song you'd want to hear if you went to see Mouthful of Bees live show over the Thanksgiving holiday. The vocals are delivered with an intriguing mix of desperation and authority, lending a maturity level unexpected in such young artists.
And then, before you know it, it's winter. The snow's falling, and you want nothing more than to stay indoors, wrapped up in a blanket while listening to "Airport." The jingle-bells and pretty piano of "Sunny" remind you the sun will indeed be out again, and the snow will eventually go away. But not before a long, depressing and gray January. "Upon Reaching Cedar Falls, IA" makes you plead for winter to finally be over.
But alas, spring does come again in "Old Gold," and you drive with the windows down for the first time and stretch your arms out to enjoy the soft breeze. It's the culmination of an annual cycle and once again the drums bounce on shaky legs while sunny, happy guitars rollick underneath a lilting voice.
It was a good year, one to be remembered, but when all was said and done, you hoped that Mouthful of Bees would have lingered in one season a little longer.