Review Summary: A unique piece of work that flawlessly combines multiple styles of music, ultimately creating a beautiful listen
David Sylvian is a name that I am not too familiar with, to be completely honest. In fact, I was completely disinterested with him and his work before I heard his 1999 album Dead Bees On A Cake
. Hell, it still a couple of listens to fully appreciate it as an album, but that’s not to say it’s not worth the time of day. Not one bit, Dead Bees On A Cake
is just as odd, yet attractive as it’s interesting title, for it combines all kinds of different musical styles and tones in a flawless manner, perfectly absorbing the listener in a tight grasp.
It’s hard for me to pin down an exact genre tag for this disc, the musical styles of jazz, art rock, ambient, and, to an extent, folk are all blended together on this record, forming this surprisingly beautiful and smooth musical tone for the record. The opener “I Surrender” is a jazzy, nine-minute number that includes funky guitars and ringing synths that, when mixed together, paints the track like an artist with a canvas. Sylvian’s vocals are top notch, his voice is incredibly smooth and charismatic, adding extra charm to the track. That’s another thing I like about this record, Sylvain’s vocals.
They’re just so charming. To hear his carefree voice effortlessly float through each track is a very special treat. The rugged, yet incredibly warm tone of his voice perfectly fits in with the musical mood, whether it be the colorful, jazzy tracks like “I Surrender” or the atmospheric, ambience-ridden “Darkest Dreaming”. Even on some of the more silly tracks like “God Men”, they way Sylvian’s vocals layer the trippy guitars and metallic drumming is just amazing.
My only real complaint with this record, though, is that, sometimes, the outstanding tracks are so great that they end up outshining others. For example, “Alphabet Angel” is a peaceful tune that makes you dreary, Sylvian’s outstanding vocals compliment the dreamy synths, but when you have epic, beautifully textured tracks such as “Krishna Blue” follow right after, it makes “Alphabet Angel” pale in comparison. What I’m trying to say is that sometimes there can be songs so good, they end up making others feel much weaker than they really are, slightly damaging the overall enjoyment value of the album.
Nevertheless, Dead Bees On A Cake
is a marvelous record that shows how well David Sylvian is at molding himself to any genre he feels like doing. It’s surprisingly subtle and smooth, making it very easy to get into, and some of the tracks to be found here are simply beautiful. It’s a mesmerizing piece of music that certainly deserves a listen, and is something that would definitely make you more interested in the name David Sylvian.