One of the criteria that we use to rate music here on EvilSponge is, "does it appeal to people who normally don't like music in that genre?" Music that transcends genre tends to get a higher rating from us, as we think that it epitomizes the best that any given genre has to offer. With this in mind, i offer The Besties, who are a self-described "twee band". Yes, really.
Normally the term "twee band" brings to mind people trying very hard to be cute and non-threatening. However, with The Besties, that appearance comes across as natural. The music is "cute", but it doesn't seem affected. Instead, it seems as if the members of The Besties (who identify themselves only as Marisa, Kelly, and Rikky) are just happy, silly people.
It also helps that their entire debut EP lasts only 24 minutes. I suppose that this music might wear thin at longer time spans, but i kind of doubt it. You see, the three of them are very good with melody. Their music is light, happy, and toe-tappingly catchy. A comparison point that i offer is the early work of The Magnetic Fields. The Besties’ music is similarly constructed out of drum machines, light guitar, lots of keyboards, and vocals. It is also similarly catchy, and i think that Stephen Merrit would kill for a few of these tunes. Yes, they are good songs.
There are eight tracks here, but i want to discuss the last one first, because it explains a few things. It's titled Theme Song, and includes the line "No titles, they're too much trouble" which explains why the eight songs here have descriptive names, such as Theme Song. The chorus of this song features Kelly and Marisa singing "The Besties, la la la la, the Besties la la la la" over and over again. It's less than two minutes long, so the syrupy sweet nature doesn't get annoying. However, it also features a great hard drum hit and light happy keyboards that make the song more than just light vocals.
That said, the first tune is Prison Song. This is about someone named Jimmy who is now, apparently, in prison. And yet, it features a great rhythm from the drum machine (i like the tambourine sample they use here), and some nice harmonized vocals from Marisa and Kelly.
The next tune is my favorite on the EP, Space Song. This is about a space alien who falls in love with an astronaut and wants to come home with him. The thing that makes this song is the really cool echoing keyboard part and the minimalistic guitar riffing. Marisa and Kelley do a nice job with the harmonized vocals here as well. It really works.
Up next is Western song, which does feature guitarist Rikky playing with a slight western twang, one of the keyboards trying to emulate a piano while the other does an organ sound, and a light jazzy drum machine beat. It's a decent tune about cowboys, but not the best one here.
This is followed by Sweden Song, which features a big drum kit sound and silly happy keyboards. This song is about being in love with someone who lives in Europe, and features the great line, "You are so far away. What does it say about me that i like it that way?" Brilliant.
This is followed by Siren Song, which features a nice chugging chorus. I am not as clear as to the meaning of this song, but the epic chorus with high-pitched whining keys and harmonized female vocals in chorus is rather nice.
Next is Pirate Song, which is a love song that cashes in on the current trendiness of old timey pirates. (Something that i, personally, do not get. But no matter.) Again, there is another line worthy of Stephen Merritt in the chorus: "You're the treasure that my map's been leading too." I like the way that Marisa and Kelly sing, offset, on the chorus, where the line that one of them sings is almost cut off with the next line, sung by the other one. A nice effect, and another song that really works.
Up next is Zombie Song, which is a brilliant love tune from the perspective of a girl who is in love with a zombie trapped inside a cemetery. Guitarist Rikky sings the zombie boy's part, and the whole song is a duet of bad puns. (They use the term "love bite" in an entirely different way, given the context.) Funny, catchy, and rather enjoyable.
And then we are back the Theme Song which i mentioned earlier.
Overall, i find that i really enjoy this EP, and i have to admit that when
i read the promo sheet that came with the EP, i had pretty low expectations
when i put it in the CD player. And yet, their strong songwriting and, well,
earnestness, really won me over. This is a very enjoyable EP. It's not deep,
but it is toe-tappingly fun. And to my mind that says a lot for The Besties.
I would recommend it to pretty much anyone in search of a light, happy release.