So what’s in a name?
Brother Adam was a Benedictine Monk born in 1898. He spent most of his life living and working at a Monastery in Buckfast Abbey in England. His job was that of a beekeeper, selling wax and honey to earn money for the church. His avocation was crossbreeding bees. Before his death at age 92 he had developed a strain of bee that was immune to most diseases, lived twice as long as the average bee, and was fairly gentle. The Buckfast Bee or Super Bee as it is sometimes referred to is now the most popular honeybee in the world.
I am impressed that an indie band from San Diego would know these obscure historical facts and name themselves Buckfast Superbee. They consist of singer/guitarist Timothy Joseph, drummer Bill Driskill, bassist Kevin Stram, and guitarist Derek Dutt.
Their publicity releases for Turn Of The Radio Age bills them as a pop/rock band. Let me say, however, that there is not much pop in their music. Rather, they are a straightforward, drums and guitar hard rock band. While there are some catchy melodies, the sound is basically an all-out assault on the ears and other senses.
The lyrics at this point in their four year career are more advanced than their music. There is a controlled anger as they rant and criticize the government, society, the music business, and life in general.
If I have one criticism it is, except for the short first track that introduces the album and serves as a counterpoint for what is to come, all the songs exhibit a musical sameness. The musicianship is fine but their messages would be presented a lot more effectively if they changed tempos and style upon occasion. A couple of ballads would have been welcome as well.
They are several tracks worthy of attention and are representative of the best of what they have to offer. “Gibraltar” has a few nice bass interludes which break up the guitar attack and allow you to catch your breath. “Tilt-O-Whirl” is about a musician achieving balance in life and features some creative guitar playing and interplay. “Pitch vs. Rotation” may be a little too long at over ten minutes but it is the one song that takes the music away from the pounding, frenetic assault of the rest of the songs. Well, a little anyway.
Buckfast Superbee has a number of positive attributes; it just seems they are trying a little too hard at times. Turn Of The Radio Age is a good introduction to the band, though, and is worth a listen.