Reviews

 
Neverland

 

 

Released January 2003

 

Bandees look back and ahead

CD REVIEWS - January 10, 2003
By RICK de YAMPERT [Daytona Beach News Journal, Entertainment Editor]

Bandees, "Neverland" SLD Music **** [excellent]

The Bandees upped their periscope for their new CD and took a long look backward. And what did they see, this Edgewater-based pop-rock duo composed of husband-and-wife multi-instrumentalists Stephen and Patricia Ann Dees?

They saw an eclectic, clever, semi-arty body of pop-rock stretching all the way back to the dawn of MTV, where Stephen and his band Novo Combo landed with a Top-5 video for their song "Animation Generation."

The Bandees then trained their periscope on the future. The result is "Neverland," a combo of new songs and old, some revamped and some not. The Bandees are not claiming this is a greatest-hits retrospective, but "Neverland" feels that way because the 16-track CD contains so many cool mondo-rock songs -- from Devo-like new wave to delicate, exquisitely crafted ballads that seem like a Rossetti Pre-Raphaelite painting cast in sound.

"Neverland" finds Stephen and Patricia Ann going back two decades for a remake of "Up Periscope," that 1982 hit he penned with Novo Combo. The duo make the song both familiar and fresh thanks to vaguely new wave-ish guitars, an insistent cello riff and a melodic hook far more contagious than any of today's boy-pop stuff.

That song and others -- "Psycho Boy," the flute-accented "Nobody Likes Me" -- point up an important rock music history lesson, so listen up boys and girls: There is a type of guitar rock that's post-classic, pre-grunge and pre-"nu-metal," and that's every bit as at-home in the new millennium as the Limp Creed System of a Down Bizkit folks. And the Bandees are masters at such pop-rock.

"Are you mad or just insane?" Patricia Ann coos over slinky guitars on "Psycho Boy," "You possess a major damaged brain. You might think that you're a spy. Geek boy, you're not FBI."

Elsewhere, the Bandees go the full new-wave, pogo-pop route with "Pretty, Pretty Dr. Smith," detour for some Beatles 'n' Badfinger-style piano rock on "You Are My Baby," and deftly crossbreed Tom Petty and rockabilly on "Kids Go Out and Play."

There's more: lots of gorgeous, exquisite ballads fueled by Patricia Ann's flute, oboe or penny whistle, and guest musician David Turner's cello -- ballads that meander from the delicate, baroque "Lily of the Lake" to the Celtic-flavored title track.

"Neverland's" many textures aren't as scattershot as they may seem. Rather, the Bandees are chameleon-like in the manner of David Bowie -- artfully so, and confidently so. It's time for the Bandees periscope to come up.


CD REVIEWS – August 2003
By Sara Wilsey [
Connections Magazine]
 

Bandees, "Neverland" Rating: ***** (out of 5)

"It’s too bad more people don’t check out local bands. They’re missing out on some really good music. One such example is the Bandees’ Neverland. The duo of Stephen and Patricia Dees have put out some top-notch professional records in the past and this one is no exception. With a jangly pop sound reminiscent in part of the Beatles and Spiders from Mars-era Bowie, the songs are well-crafted, recorded and mixed. Neverland is another first-rate effort, but we expected nothing less."  


CD REVIEWS – July 1-15, 2003

By MELANIE CAMPBELL [Backstage Pass Magazine, Central Florida’s East Coast, Assistant Editor

Bandees, "Neverland"  SLD Music

Once upon a time, we wrote up Edgewater’s the Bandees, calling them “pure pop for the new millennium.” It was an apt description then, and it still holds true today on the latest release, Neverland. This time around, the Bandees—Steven and Patricia Dees, and a stellar cast of guest musicians—settle into a somewhat simpler, yet still musically-multi-faceted groove. The Dees opt for a bit less whimsy and stick to more basic themes this time around. Check out the plaintive, yet fun romp through “Zachary,” a tale told from a little guy’s perspective; “Is It Something I Said,” with lyrics chock full of the insecurity we’ve all felt in a love relationship; and the utterly simplistic brilliance of “Nobody Likes Me,” a sardonic take on homelessness, as well as an excellent reworking of “Up Periscope” from Steven Dees’ Novo Combo days, the 18 tunes on Neverland continue the Bandees’ tradition of building accessible, Beatle-esque pop with thoughtful lyrics and just enough musical quirk to keep even the most jaded listener’s attention.


  

CD REVIEWS - November 3, 2003

 "Can music make a better world? The answer is a resounding Yes. Music can both literally slow the heart and calm the nerves, as well as excite and convey ideas. The Bandees seem to have rediscovered it's the songwriting that matters, the writing combined with various musical influences and arrangements, reassures us all that there is still hope. A duo tightly in sync with each other, their commitment to excellence is evident in every song. Perhaps it would be asking too much to expect this CD release to usher in a whole new era in music, but at the very least, the Bandees should finally start to get recognized as a truly creative and talented band. The Bandees deliver in every sense of the word.

Their diverse sounds explode with energy as well as soothe the savage soul. Without sounding the least bit contrived, they incorporate musical styles from Rock, Pop, Folk, Celtic, Jazz and even a little Rock-a-Billy makes its way into the unmistakable Bandees style.

The Bandees are Stephen and Patricia Ann Dees; both share the vocals and play several instruments. The two have clear, clean voices that blend so well, they seem to melt together to become a single, larger voice. Stephen’s song lyrics are delightful to read even without the music. Dees’ writes in a variety of styles, and each song stands alone. Complimenting their sound, guest musician, David Turner adds to the depth of this CD as he lends his haunting and emotional cello accompaniment to many of the songs.

Neverland’s opening track “Zachary”, is a tale of a three year old child who somehow knows growing up and going to school is not going to be as much fun as staying home and watching "Shrek". "China Box" and "Whenever You Walk By" are two of those wonderfully romantic songs, that stir the soul and remind us how it feels to be in love. "Square", a retro jazzy beatnik number asks us to "Imagine a World Without Rules Where Everything is Equal and Everybody's Cool". (Remember when Lennon asked us to "Imagine"?) Patricia Ann's almost sassy flute riffs here dare you to try and sit still. Neverland climaxes with the spiritually powerful "Breaking the Surface", with its life affirming, positive lyrics we are reminded that we have a purpose here and are on a continuous journey to discover that purpose. The lyrics convey a message that leaves you wanting to hear more.

 For fans of great, eclectic pop rock this CD is a must have. "
[Sound Choice]


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