Maple Bee – Home

Maple Bee - Home

Maple Bee - Home

Melanie Garside, the talent behind the alias Maple Bee, is a sister of KatieJane Garside (Daisy Chainsaw, QueenAdreena, Lalleshwari) and Melanie has a musical pedigree that runs through various bands including Tabitha Zu, Mediaeval Babes, a stint playing bass in QueenAdreena, her solo work as Maple Bee, and concurrently, the electro-pop duo Huski with Pike Galloway.  This is her third album under the Maple Bee name and it was released in the U.K. in 2008 and made its way to the U.S. in the spring of 2009.

Melanie blends subdued electronics with strummed guitar strings to form mostly flowing alt-folk and a few spirited rock numbers.  The first two songs are indie rockers with traditional verse, chorus, verse structures, drum beat, running bass line, and emotive declarations on the chorus sections.  “While You were Sleeping” starts off the album on the right foot with an up-tempo vibe and orchestral strings and electro touches.  A darker synth tone insinuates itself against the bubbly beat and acoustic guitar strum on the verses, while the pace picks up on the chorus as Melanie sings in a child-like, breathy voice “Don’t be scared of the long way round / ‘cause I’ve always found / that there’s answers waiting / lost along the way.”

“Me and Rose” is low-key despite its fast-picked acoustic guitar strum, as Melanie’s fingers glance off the strings amid subdued, slow-pulled violins and occasional piano notes.  Her vocals are light but toned down, with tempered accordion notes following her contemplative thoughts of “…to sleep in these arms I know / feeling like home…”  Watery piano notes, a laid-back beat, and acoustic guitar strum open “Mirrior” as growling bass guitar sweeps in on the verses and Melanie’s vocal phrasing curls the words at the ends of phrases.  On the chorus her voice, surrounded by tinging notes and pulled strings, lifts up to a higher, more emotive register.

Rambling guitar strum from possibly three guitars and piano accents distinguish “No Place” from the pack, sounding like a Sun Kil Moon number with Melanie’s voice a bit heathery as she sings warmly “…because home is like no place I’ve been / but home is like the way this feels.”  “Queen 23” is another standout, this time featuring a deep drum beat, stream-over-pebbles flow of acoustic guitar strum, melancholic, drawn strings, and little triangle accents, reminiscent of a softer QueenAdreena song with a rock beat, but otherwise coming off as a delicate fractured fairy tale ballad with Melanie singing sweetly, but despondently “…and the queen lived on inside the castle walls / and the prince that’s in the tower is still alone.”  On the chorus light “La-la-las”, harpsichord-like notes, and flute float by.

Buzzing electronic noises slowly wind through “I Want It All” along with an echoed beat, twangy, pliable guitar, and very bittersweet cello line.  Melanie’s vocals are breathy, but clear on the verses that also contain little electronic squirks and bleeps, a swooping, falling star sound, and occasional mandolin-like reverb.  The chorus charges through with the drama of fuller guitar lines and emotive vocals until the fade away of ghostly, knob-twiddling sound and dreamy “Ahhhs” at the end of the song.

The sun-dappled “Sweetness in your Light” is a plain, but captivating alt-folk number with slow-pulled strings and two types and liquidy, light acoustic guitars picking a delicate pattern amid mouth-puckering accordion notes and airy vocals from Melanie as she sings prettily “I walk these roads to find my way / but each breeze blew my tracks away.”  “Somebody Take Me Home” works in a light trip-hop beat, upright bass plucks, and acoustic guitar, while another guitar and plaintive, weeping strings weave throughout the song.

Closer “This Face This Name” is a rock track through and through, although it commences with a hollow, spacey sound, piquant strings, electronic squirks, and picked guitar.  It quickly morphs into a pounding drum beat, crashed ‘n’ bashed cymbals, circling guitar line, and a ghostly, electronic sound as Melanie sings in a darker, sultry tone “Say my name ‘cause I don’t feel the same / I need reminding of the girl I was today.”, gasping for breath at the end of the song as she forcefully pushes out only certain words of the lyrics.