Beehoover ‘Heavy Zooo’ CD 2008

Beehoover 'Heavy Zooo' CD 2008Ah you just have to love those crazy Germans!!! It’s often been said that the Germans don’t have a sense of humour. This is simply not true, they have a very keenly defined sense of humour…it’s just not shared by the rest of the known world!!! It’s this singularity of vision that comes across in this long-player from Teutonic two piece Beehoover that may work against them initially. I suspect many people will not play this album beyond the first listen. I will freely admit that on the first play I thought this was just an irritating pile of shit but, as a fair minded reviewer, I don’t like to dismiss things on first listen and give them time to sink in. I’m glad I did as it takes a good few spins for this disc to reveal its secrets and start to make any sort of sense.

The band’s biography mentions the key buzzwords metal, stoner and doom, I think this may be stretching things a little. It’s certainly heavy, far heavier than you would imagine a bass and drum duo to be, but metal? I’m not so sure. As for stoner and doom, well it does occasionally take a dive in tempo a la the best doom bands and it does lurch into the occasional fuzz drenched groove of the finest stoner bands but in general the sounds on offer here are way too spasmodic and dissonant to fit comfortably into either genre. The problem is, people have expectations when they first listen to an album and if there is any deviation from these expectations then the listener could be leaving themselves open to disappointment. Revisit this album, however, knowing what to expect and a different story emerges.

Where most bass/drum duos fail is the assumption that you can stick a fuzz box on the bass and it will replace a guitar…not so, it just becomes fuzzy bass. In Beehoover the bass is elevated in status to a harmonious and melodic lead instrument full of arpeggiated chords, flurries of notes and variations in tone and texture that can veer from the downright heavy to sublime and melodic. The drumming twists and turns filling the space left by the bass to create a whole sound that is as thick and fully realised and any “full” band could expect to achieve. One bone of contention that some listeners may have is the vocal style which emphasises the mechanical, Teutonic nature of the music with an almost robotic rant. Initially this grated on me to the point where I contemplated turning it off and throwing out of the window!!! Bracing myself for a second listen I found myself starting to “get” the vocal style and successive spins see the vocals gel with the music to create a violently beautiful twisted whole.

Have this bizarre twosome created a unique sound? I’m certainly having some difficulty placing them in the context of other bands…maybe there’s a bit of King Crimson era schizoid prog, maybe there’s a bit of Sabbathian rumble, maybe there’s a bit of Barkmarket, Shellac or The Jesus Lizard’s spastic punk. Whatever it has it certainly has more quirks than the Dublin phone book!!! Buy this, listen to it once to get that initial nausea out of the way, put it aside for a few days then go back and let it work its magic!!!

Label: Exile On Mainstream Records

Scribed by: Ollie Stygall