Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future

Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future

On their sophomore album, Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future, The Bird and the Bee meld together their favorite segments of pop music’s past, including Brazilian Tropicália, breathy ‘60s jazz, and the choral pop of the Beach Boys. These influences are strung together with subtle but intricate electronic decoration, courtesy of Greg Kurstin. His foil is singer Inara George, whose cooing is clear and clean, but never without presence or wisdom. “My Love” has all the swelling, bittersweet optimism of a Phil Spector single, while the feathery, cascading harmonies of “Baby” translate the flutter of newfound love. At times the formula for Ray Guns resembles Stereolab in its prime, although The Bird and the Bee’s brand of retro-modernism is more miniskirt and martini lounge than outer-space and avant-garde. This material is exceptionally breezy and lovely, which makes it easy to miss the craftsmanship within every song — The Bird and the Bee are nothing if not students of Bacharach-David. Not to be missed is the lilting music box melody of “Ray Gun,” the infectious swing of “Diamond Dave” (a love letter to Van Halen’s flamboyant frontman), and the wistful disco shuffle of “Meteor.”

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