Still drenched in the psychedelic retro edge that they've always offered, The Bees' fourth album is another solid and, to some extent, timeless release. Since their Mercury nominated debut in 2002, the Isle of Wight 6-piece have quietly and contentedly perfected their craft relatively shy of any limelight, with two full length album releases passing by us in the meantime.
Every Step's A Yes opens with 'I Really Need Love', a trademark, toe-tapping folk number with strummed acoustic guitar, brushed drums and glimmers of distinctive sitar. Despite its' repetitiveness, The Bees immediately prove a chirpy, fresh and likeable sound. 'Winter Rise' continues with a laid-back bluesy feel, cute brass backings and a contented gentle offbeat emphasis suggesting hints of mellow reggae in the vein of a more folky and accessible version of The Coral or Gomez perhaps. This is contrasted somewhat with the Simon & Garfunkel-esque gentle acoustic guitar and smooth vocal harmonies of the sweet blues-folk number, 'Silver Line'. Similarly, the mellow bluesy guitar of 'Tired Of Loving' is serenaded by the same lush vocal harmonies.
The Bees have always been a kind of musical menagerie, bringing brass, percussion and various different keyboard, wind and stringed instruments to their musical blend; this release is no exception. Recorders provide counter-melody throughout 'Change Can Happen', whilst 'Pressure Makes Me Lazy' emphasises their eclectic feel with a combination rain stick, assorted percussion and keyboards forming a bed over which the guitars, vocals and brass meander.
Every Step's A Yes concludes with 'Gaia', which really affirms The Bees' chirpy, laid-back, fun-loving musical personality. 'Gaia' hosts a cool Latin groove and the track grows out of a repeated Latin riff throughout, closing the album appropriately with a contented, feel-good vibe. Brass parts are dominant throughout the track, as are instrumental vocals rather than lyrics, and The Bees later work into a tame kind of 'A Day In The Life'-esque, miniature orchestral crescendo, then a stop-chorus which shows off Tom Gardner's drumming.
The Bees' songwriting throughout Every Step's A Yes is pretty bland and samey, yet still the result is inoffensive and palatable. As with much of their back catalogue, this album comes with an air of indifference; it's neither ground-breaking nor a big hitting release, but it's just solid and consistent, contented and therefore likeable.