Mouthful of Bees: The End

Mouthful of Bees
The End
Afternoon Records

Minneapolis-based Mouthful of Bees, with its barbed guitar lines and swarms of distortion, is a rare musical species: a band whose name perfectly fits its music.

It's easy to see why Mouthful of Bees garnered attention before releasing this infectious disc a few weeks ago. The record kicks off with the fantastic, Television-like "The Now," a sweetly melodic burst of energy. Drums thump, guitars weave and bob, and singer Chris Farstad croons, "In the time it took for me to write my novel, I did nothing in particular at all."

Due to the record's fuzzy production and flurries of noise, that's the last coherent sentence we hear from Farstad; the band treats his lost lyrics as sacrifices to a worthy force of nature. Under the unholy racket, however, lies a core of catchy power pop. This foundation helps Mouthful of Bees pull off the indie trick of sounding both ramshackle and tightly wound.

The End also contains quieter songs, but they serve as palate-cleansers for bombast. The jangly ballad "Jessica" introduces "Under the Glacier," which starts with a single distorted guitar line and turns into chaos. The song then breaks at the three-minute mark, after which a feverish coda builds slowly into renewed mayhem.

It's fitting to describe The End as a series of highlights, because while the disc is cohesive, its songs are continually on the verge of explosion. Luckily for any rock 'n' roll fans within earshot, Mouthful of Bees trade in the genre's specialty: combustion.