Beekeeper Constellation


Independent release, 2011

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


Oxcart does good old post grunge music really well. But what the band does with a whole lot of musical influences – from punk to all manners of prog rock, from psychedelic to metal – is keep it classy. Beekeeper Constellation is a brilliant marriage of this Portland, Oregon-based quartet’s embrace of different rock music styles, and sounds less of a stew of randomness and more of a seriously ambitious and sophisticated record.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Although this might not be an overtly prog rock album, it has all the hallmarks of one; it’s more than just a straightforward rock record. The fiery “Delusions,” at its core, is as uncomplicated and charged-up as an emo song. But when the band puts a little spin on it, exhibiting a full two-minute tawdry and very ‘60s keyboard solo at the end, it gives the song a whole new and persona: one that is from the head and not just from the heart; one that is a bit more mature than just primal spewing of emotions.

Most of the songs here are forthright and fierce with no apparent objective to be artsy or manipulative. But the surprising diversions, like the one on “Delusions,” makes for an album with most of the songs clocking well over five minutes (some easily hitting over six). Grand and long lead guitar solos, the likes of the ‘80s hair-band tradition are generous on the tracks “The Light,” “Fire,” and “The Beekeeper.” On “Possum,” the lead solo takes a moony Pink Floyd turn, injecting a mood that is quintessentially prog rock.

Short and tight instrumentals on Beekeeper Constellation like “Drawbridge” and “Zenith” are no small beer. Despite their lengths (of under two and half minutes), they are full of vigor and provide the perfect lead-up to the following song. On the other hand, “Nationalism Anthem” and “Speakeasy” are long and heavy pieces where the band really gets down with artsiness and shows off its compositional cred with some flair.

Although Oxcart is good at making simple rock music, this is a band that thrives on messing with simple tunes by adding extra appendages and creating total beasts out of them. And they are really good at doing so.

Rating: A-

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