The Bird and the Bee

The soundtrack for the next hipster lounge revival is given a subversive twist.

The debut of this Los Angeles duo seems harmless enough at first. Combining lovely vocals, shimmering keyboards, and creamy melodies worthy of Burt Bacharach or lilting bossa nova, The Bird and the Bee could be the soundtrack for the next hipster lounge revival. But singer Inara George (daughter of Little Feat's late, great Lowell George) and jazz-trained pianist Greg Kurstin (whose credits include Beck and Nelly Furtado) have something more subversive in mind, slipping corrosive thoughts inside their sugary confections. With bubbly computer rhythms promising carefree fun, George murmurs, "You give me almost nothing," to a selfish lover, adding, "Would you ever be my fucking boyfriend?" The breathtaking "I'm a Broken Heart" recalls the Beach Boys at their most ornate, layering lush romantic textures that heighten the quiet anguish when George sighs, "All our moments have just become ailments." Misery never tasted so sweet.

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