It’s as ifThe Voice OfThe Beehive have never been away. Melissa Belland tells Fiona Shepherd why they’re an unforgettable band and why patchwork means more to them than pink taffeta.
One glance at the exquisitivc sleeve for the new Voice OfThe Beehive album. Honey Lingers. and it seems faintly ridiculous that anyone could forget the larger-than-life presence of the Belland siblings. Tracey and Melissa. Californian pop damsels who brightened the charts with their rushing. uplifting melodies and idiosyncratic harmony vocals. and impressed no end on the live front with their kooky dances. But even the most
generous ofcalculations reveals at least two years
since the sisters reared their ﬂouncy petticoats on Top ofthe Pops. so one feels duty bound to inquire - were the Beehives scared that they would be forgotten?
‘I knew that people wouldn‘t forget us — how could they forget us?‘ roars Melissa. she of the auburn tresses (for those viewing in black and white). ‘But people are very fickle. I think one
thing that serves in our interest is we‘ve never been '
an ultra-trendy band. riding the crest of a certain scene. We never were spearheading any particular fashion or music movement; so because we never really fit in. I think it gives us longevity. I think we're able to weave in and out of all the trends. it gives us more inﬂuences to draw from. Yes. there‘s a Manchester thing going on. this is cool, what do we like best about it'.’ We‘ll take that idea
Returning to that album sleeve. it appears that the ‘Beehive ﬂavour‘ these days is altogether more refined. Wrapped in abundant swathes ofpink taffeta and vamping it up like knowing debutantes. the girls maintain that their two-year recess has allowed them to mature in every department — their attitude. their music and their business suss. as well as their image. But to many who have heard the album. this means nothing more than the systematic chipping away of rough edges. and the unnecessary buffing and polishing that comes from overzealous production. Honey Lingers had seven producers — too many cooks spoiling the broth?
‘We‘ve never worked with just one producer,‘ protests Melissa. ‘Something like “Monsters and Angels“ cannot be recorded by the same type of person that does “Look At Me“ — it doesn't need
somebody who‘s good with strings and violins to
; work on a guitar song. whereas “Monsters and and expand on it. we‘ll put in the Beehive flavour.‘ ’
Angels" is very epic. very romantic. very dramatic. It should have somebody who’s used to big productions and strings and cellos. Each song is so different, I think they lend themselves to different types of producers’ styles. I can‘t think of any way that would possibly have had a negative effect on the album.
‘People go on and on about continuity — I hate continuity. But it‘s very important to record companies. Let It Bee [their first album] — they said it sounded like a patchwork quilt. which I thought was the ultimate compliment but they said. “Oh no. it sounds all mish-mashy.“ I think it sounds diverse, there‘s a lot of things to be tried out. Continuity is not an issue with us but I think the record company feels it‘s important to have some kind of common thread running through an album. so ifthey want the one guy to mix it. fine.
ON FOLLOWING PAGES: ALL ABOUT EVE O CARLY BLEY O MIDGE URE O BLUR LP
Tracey and Melissa - Voice iii The Beehive
but I would hate to have sacrificed the experience ofall those great producers.‘
80. two years in the making and seven producers; yet despite this. and for all Melissa's claims ofvariety. Honey Lingers is as coherent a pop album as you could expect to hear. The last single. “Monsters and Angels“. with its paradoxical title and ambivalent lyric. is representative of the album‘s concerns - broken hearts make classic subject matter. but not fun-filled reality. as Melissa will tell you. D
‘Tracey likes to have traumas so she can write about them. I would rather have my sister not write another word for the rest of her life ifthat would make less traumas for her. and I would be willing to sacrifice my writing abilities for having a more stable life. I think.‘
The Voice Of The Beehive play .S‘trathclyde University on Sat 7and the Queen ‘3 Hall. Edinburgh on Sun 8.
The List 30 August — 12 September l‘)‘)l 31