Bumblebeez 81 – The Printz

Bumblebeez 81
The Printz

There’s really no way to write a “file under” statement for bands like Bumbleez 81, although the album can surely be found in your usual “pop/rock” section. Thing is, there’s equal parts rap, rock, punk, pop, and electronica found on this band’s debut album, The Printz, and if that sounds confusing, the album is even more so.

There’s few bands that fall into this weird little category. Think equal parts White Stripes, Beck, and Brassy. Chris Colonna and a co-ed group of supporters fill this hodge-podge album so full of attitude – both in distorted punk-rock and rap-style jams – that you’d think the band is as schizophrenic as its album art hints. These folks make no attempt to keep to a style, but the album’s effectiveness is in its complete disregard for conventionality. There’s a sheer random but fun blitz of styles going on here, and somehow it all comes together to rock and roll.

After a clever little opener, “Step Back” is a bass-heavy, punk-infused blast of bluesy rock, heavy on the Beck-like distortion. If you’re not nodding during the catchy, oft-repeated chorus of “I come with water to put out your fire” on “I Come with Water,” you’re not listening well enough. It’s on this track, with its oddly effective use of acoustic guitar, that the Beck comparisons are most apt – but again, that’s Beck in his “Loser” days, not his hipster-Dylan releases. Similarly Beck-like, “Vampires” combines heavy distortion and effects behind organic instrumentation.

The band’s most fun moments are on their high-energy rocking numbers, in my opinion. “Let’s Go” is fast and furious, with so much distortion laden over the vocals, the howling-type screams are just as effective as the sung vocals. There’s also more effects – and low-end bass – on this song than your typical hip-hop album. If you haven’t heard “Pony Ride,” the band’s first single, yet, you probably will. It’s almost unavoidably catchy, full of hand-claps, layered-guitar, electronic bleeps and swirls, and the infectious chorus of “say riding the pony, gotta get it up!” Even more infectious – with its shouted “woo-hoo!” repeated throughout – is “Bambino.”

Then there’s the sheer funky rap songs, like the electro-rap of “Microphone Diseases,” and the distortion-heavy fuzz of “Brooklyn.” The female member of the band, Vila, raps as fast as she can to the fuzz and beat-heavy “Vila Attack.” There’s little besides Vila’s rap and some odd effects on “Rappa,” to varying speeds, and it’s unfortunately the low-point of the album. There’s nothing new to her raps and the sounds here. It’s followed up by “Pink Fairy Floss,” which works so much better, both funky and fun, with some nice electric guitar and unique layers of beats.

I don’t know how to describe it, but I like this album. It’s not for careless listening, though. There’s so much going on here that you have to listen close. And still, it’s a fun album, catchy and wild and full of exuberance. I can’t help but think this project has a long ways to grow, though.