Voice of the Beehive: Let It Bee – still stings in all the right places

High-achieving indie-pop album celebrates its 35th anniversary

Let It Bee
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Artist: Voice of the Beehive
Genre: Indie pop
Label: London

Back in the mid-1980s, sisters Tracey Bryn and Melissa Brooke Belland left their native California for London, which was then awash with a convergence of post-punk and indie guitar bands.

The sisters’ arrival brought a few rays of sunshine to the UK, and when they enlisted the former rhythm section of Madness (bassist Mark Bedford and drummer Daniel ‘Woody’ Woodgate) along with two other UK musicians, the mix of a solid music base with irresistible jangly-guitar melodies and perfectly in-sync harmonies was too good for the UK charts to resist.

Released in 1988, Let it Bee was more than just another high-achieving indie-pop album, however. Playing shrewdly with the bittersweet side of love, songs such as Beat of Love (“Nothing is stronger than boys and their eyes, and it’s worse when you know he’s a liar”), Sorrow Floats, I Say Nothing and Don’t Call Me Baby (“You said forever and then you went and changed your plans, you said someday I’d understand, but I still wonder”) swing as much like a pendulum as a scythe.

Chart success didn’t last, sadly, and in taking three years to release a follow-up, 1991′s Honey Lingers, the band more or less sealed their fate.


For all of that, almost 35 years later – the main celebrations start next year – Let It Bee still vibrates and (yes, mea culpa) stings in all the right places.

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in popular culture