Voice Of The Beehive – Let It Bee (2xCD/Vinyl Reissue)


Growing up as a metalhead in the late ‘80s, the main aim was not only to avoid pop music but deny its very existence. A bedside alarm was always set to ring, never to the radio while my car would play cassettes only; never FM or AM stations. Having said that, there was always the occasional album that would slip under the radar, and Voice Of The Beehive’s debut, Let It Bee, was one such culprit, and listening to this timely reissue reveals a buoyant album that acted like a bouncing bomb to break down our (metal) barriers.

Looking back over 35 years to when this album was originally released, it’s hard to fathom what made this album so appealing to a bunch of long haired ne’er-do-wells, but for some reason, appeal it did. Maybe it was the tongue-in-cheek lyrics, or big themes wrapped in simplicity, or maybe it was that sensual drumbeat, all of which were common to metal and can be found in opening cut, ‘Beat Of Love’. A rather harrowing tale of domestic abuse that comes wrapped up in an insanely catchy tune, ‘Beat Of Love’ pulls on all the right levers, and if it doesn’t make you shake your tush, then I recommend a new set of ears. When Let It Bee finally hit with the general public it was raided for single after single after single (five in total, plus a reissue) but it was ‘Don’t Call Me Baby’ that was the brightest, and it did the best business too, barging its way straight into the Top Twenty.

Voice Of The Beehive did a lot for Anglo-American relations, having been formed by Californian sisters Tracey Bryn and Melissa Brooke Belland things really started moving when they landed on British shores and hooked up with Mark Bedford and Daniel Woodgate (fresh out of Madness) alongside Mike Jones and Martin Brett to create an all-star backing band (although “Bedders” would soon depart). It was this merging of cultures that gave The Beehive their unique dynamic; a sparkling façade that masked a darker interior and made tracks such as ‘I Walk The Earth’ and ‘There’s A Barbarian In The Back Of My Car’ both earworms and stark socio-political commentary, two admirable qualities that were lacking from much chart bound music of that era.

Bolstered by an impressive 28 bonus tracks, this loving reissue delves deep into the archives and comes back with an impressive array of alternative versions, demos and a lively radio session. The biggest revelation is a lithe cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘D’yer Maker’, which makes me wonder if they were really secret metalheads all along. As with most music recorded at Aunty Beeb the four tracks comprising a vaunted BBC Radio Session sound top notch, but the acid test for any band worth their salt is being able to cut it in the live environment and the six tracks that conclude this set find the band on top form. In fact, so tight are the band that it has whetted my appetite for a full live album, the one thing that’s missing from the band’s discography. Now there’s a thought…

While much music from the 1980’s now sounds rooted firmly in that decade, Let It Bee has a timeless quality, and I can guarantee it’ll sound just as good 35 years from now.

Track List:

Vinyl Edition:

Side A:

  1. Beat Of Love
  2. Sorrow Flows
  3. Don’t Call Me Baby
  4. Man In The Moon
  5. What You Have Is Enough
  6. Oh Love


Side B:

  1. I Walk The Earth
  2. Trust Me
  3. I Say Nothing
  4. There’s A Barbarian In The Back Of My Car
  5. Just A City

CD 1:

  1. Beat Of Love
  2. Sorrow Flows
  3. Don’t Call Me Baby
  4. Man In The Moon
  5. What You Have Is Enough
  6. Oh Love
  7. I Walk The Earth
  8. Trust me
  9. I Say Nothing
  10. There’s A Barbarian In The Back Of My Car
  11. Just A City

Bonus Tracks:

  1. 7 Shocks
  2. D’yer Maker
  3. I Walk The Earth (Original Version)
  4. Independence Day
  5. Any Day Of The Week
  6. I Walk The Earth (Single Edit)
  7. This Weak
  8. Jesus
  9. Goodnight Tonight

CD 2:

  1. Cartoon City
  2. Tattoo Song
  3. Everything I Had
  4. In The Flesh
  5. No Green Blues *
  6. Jump This Way *
  7. Independence Day *
  8. Jesus *
  9. Five Feet High And Risin’
  10. Oh Love (Country Version)
  11. I Say Nothing **
  12. Beat Of Love **
  13. 7 Shocks ***
  14. There’s A Barbarian In The Back Of My Car ***
  15. I Say Nothing ***
  16. Just A City ***
  17. Trust Me ***
  18. When You Don’t Have Your Gun ***

* BBC Session

** Demo Version

*** Live Version