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Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future

4.4 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 27, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

2009 release. Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future is definitely new sonic terrain for the Los Angeles-based duo. Every bit as beguiling as their debut, the album retains its predecessor's lithe melodies and Brazilian influences, but takes its stylish, '60s pop deeper into the Psychedelic period of the Tropicalia era. 14 tracks.

Review

"Greg Kurstin (`bee') and Inara George (`bird') make syncopated danceable pop that sounds like audible sunshine." -- Rolling Stone
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 27, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Blue Note Records
  • ASIN: B001IKE6BA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,348 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The Bird and the Bee seems to just keep getting better and better! Such wonderful catchy melodies, intricate instrumentation, and Inara George's sultry voice send tingling feelings throughout me everytime I listen to this CD. Make no mistake - this is NOT just another blase generic "American Idol" sounding hum-drum lowest-common-denominator type of album. It's the real thing. Inara George and Greg Kurstin understand what songwriting is all about. I'm not sure why one of the reviewers (who admits to not having heard the entire CD) would state that this album isn't catchy. I find this very far from the truth. As much as I love the first album and their other song releases since then ("Come As You Were" is an excellent tune in my opinion), this album adds an additional level of maturity to their sound. Just when you think a melody in one of their choruses is predictable, The Bird and the Bee throws you for a loop and takes you in an unexpected direction. How utterly delightful. This is exactly how the legendary Rodgers and Hart would operate in writing their songs decades ago - by throwing the listener in unexpected directions.

My favorite track of this album is "Meteor." Listening to the opening verse, I was confident this track was going to be the low point of the album. Then, suddenly, the chorus kicks in and all the pieces of the song unexpectedly fit together in a very lush, creamy sort of way. I can't think of any other way to describe it. "What's in the Middle" is another great tune with a very interesting melody, "Love Letter to Japan" is a small tribute to bubblegum J-Pop (and a fun video if you get the chance to see it), and "You're a Cad" has a theatrical flair to it replete with major and minor chords that seem to do-si-do around each other.
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Format: Audio CD
There is, in fact, much to like about this album...finely crafted songs, witty lyrics, Inara George's lovely voice. For my money, the standouts are "Love Letter to Japan" and "Birthday", though I can't say there's any one song that's unlistenable. You're usually setting yourself up for disappointment if you pigeonhole an artist based solely on their first album, particularly artists as talented as The Bird and the Bee. While you may or may not prefer their eponymous debut over this release (or even one of their EPs, for that matter), a 1 star release this is not.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
Another fine effort by B&B. Some songs are better than others, but all are enjoyable. My favorites are 'Diamond Dave' which features those trademark swirling, near-robotic hamonies; Love Letter to Japan, with its slick anthem-like background vocals; and You're a Cad, which has a cheesy-cool ragtime feel. There are other good ones, like Witch and Birthday. In fact the only song I wasn't crazy about was Lifespan of a Fly. If you're already familiar with B&B, you won't be disappointed. If you're new to the duo, give them a shot- they're a lot of fun.
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Format: Audio CD
The second full-length album from LA singer Inara George (bird) and producer Greg Kurstin(bee), Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future, is a finely crafted marriage of lounge-influenced electronica and George's chilled, breathy soprano. Kurstin, who recently produced Lily Allen's sophomore album It's Not Me, It's You, indulges in spare, spacey backgrounds reminiscent of French electronica giants Air. He puts a downtempo clap and stomp cribbed from the Ronettes into songs like "My Love" and "Polite Dance Song", the latter a catchy and goofy turn contrasting George's schoolgirl delivery to her raise-the-roof instructions. The lush "Meteor" plays like a female version of Jamiroquai's "Cosmic Girl", replacing overactive funk with a remote bleeping, blooping track out of your favorite 80's side scroller.

"Ray Gun" is begging to be used in advertisements for the next season of "Mad Men", with George cooing "I'm caught under the weight of all this talk on life" over a smoky bass and Continental harpsichord loop. The duo experiment with different retro genres from bouncy music hall ("You're A Cad") to J-pop ("Love Letter to Japan") to sappy love ballads ("Baby"). Admittedly, the duo's style leaves little room for ambivalence. You either buy into the 60's lounge vibe or you don't (hence my 4-star rating.) The music reminds of Bond girls: fun, throwback attitudes, sexy but aloof, awfully clever but a little vacant. "Diamond Dave" is your Dalton-era song: a tribute to David Lee Roth (I like the song and the films, but I know I'm in the minority).

Like user penname, this is the first album I've bothered to review. It's that good.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
This was unquestionably one of my favorite albums of 2009! With the beauty of the Carpenters and the smarts of performers like Aimee Mann and Flight of the Conchords, the charming duo The Bird and the Bee (Inara George and Greg Kurstin) is hypnotic and at times musically challenging. Ray Guns are Not Just the Future, which I play on a regular basis, is a terrific example of infectious pop at its best.

Their material manages the unusual feat of merging old-fashioned genres while still embracing modern day sounds. You might have heard The Bird and the Bee`s track "again and again" on the third Grey's Anatomy Original Soundtrack. George has the kind of voice that smart TV shows know how to use to great effect. And with her partner Kurstin, their music is part space-age pop, part martini lounge, all parts fun.

Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future contains the delightfully deadpan "Polite Dance Song." You probably WON'T want to dance to it, but I think that may be the point. (The video for "Polite" is hysterical and can be viewed on various web sites, including youtube.) In the video George looks like she's phoning in her performance, which complements the underlying theme of monotony running throughout the track. The main refrain is absolutely-without-a-doubt amazing!!

Other pleasing sounds can be found on the wonderfully sweet, but not too sugary "Love Letter to Japan." "Witch," a haunting song of desperation and longing - a variation of sorts on a wannabe hoping for a love potion that works - takes a tone that is slightly warning but too beautiful to be a threat.

The absolute knock-em out (you'll be humming the song all day and not hating yourself for it!) is the very hip and slightly retro "Diamond Dave," a frothy confection about one of the 80s most beloved and bizarre frontman, David Lee Roth.
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