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Album Review

The Bird and the Bee, 'Ray Guns Are Not the Future'

January 26, 2009
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Pop
The Bird and the Bee Ray Guns Are Not the Future
Manhattan
ESSENTIAL "Love Letter to Japan"

The juxtaposition of the heavy and the light has been done to death, but there is something undeniably charming about twee LA duo the Bird and the Bee's appealing little ditty to their favorite high-kicking hard-rock frontman. "Diamond Dave, no one can hold a candle," enthuses lead singer Inara George on "Diamond Dave" as keyboards blurp and synthesized strings shimmy. With nary a guitar in sight, George and multi-instrumentalist Greg Kurstin honor David Lee Roth in their own fashion, gently and melodically, and much of their second album proceeds in similarly chirpy fashion. "Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future" is not an enormous departure from their self-titled debut; after all, why mess with a good thing? But "Love Letter to Japan" sizzles like Gwen Stefani at her slinkiest. One could easily imagine its chunky main riff nestling comfortably among the latest top 40 smashes or cozying up to Duran Duran on an all-1980s station, for that matter. The Bird and the Bee's future seems to be all retro. Considering the state of the present, that's probably not a bad idea. (Out tomorrow)

SAUL AUSTERLITZ

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