We’re all very concerned about the bees. Because bees are lovely. They are a nice colour and they have cute little wings. The make a funny buzzing noise and they have tiny bee fur. And if they die out, we might all die with them. So it’s pretty important we look after the little goobers.
But let’s not forget that it must be sort of miserable being a bee. You work day in, day out to make sweet nectar for your boss, while living in a poky little hive that makes sharing a flat in zone 3 with five other young professionals look quite appealing. And you don’t even get a weekend. It’s a wonder the worker bees haven’t staged some sort of bee revolution, or formed a bee union at the very least, but perhaps it’s best for us humans that they stay complicit, for the sake of our increasingly fragile ecosystem, anyway.
Soft Fangs understands. Real name John Lutkevich, the Brooklyn-based musician interprets the plight of the bees on a much more personal level. For him, it’s less about ecological balance and more about workers’ liberation. “I’ve been trapped inside my hive, barely alive, working for a queen who I will never get to see,” he groans on latest single ‘Honey Colony’, a rather jaded – or perhaps just realistic – rumination on daily bee (and human) life.
‘Honey Colony’ is a doleful bit of melancholy pop, a bittersweet track that plays out in soft guitars and gentle percussion. Lutkevich considers the humdrum nature of life, concluding that “I believe there’s more to see, than the honey colony,” his vocals wispy and fragile but his lyrics adding a little bite. At the track’s centre is a pining guitar riff, a simple yet emotive whine, summing up the inertia of a life spent working for the profit of others.
Musically, Soft Fangs’ music is reminiscent of Sparklehorse, the godfather of melancholia. Soft Fangs’ hushed vocals and plaintive acoustic arrangement hark back to Mark Linkous at his most affecting, before he tragically took his own life back in 2010. Perhaps if he were still alive, he’d be making songs like ‘Honey Colony’, a carefully crafted track that seeps sadness, solitude, and just the quietest hint of rebellion.