The Bird and the Bee, which consists of duo Inara George(Bird) and Greg Kurstin(Bee), has made a career out of making smooth, jazzy pop records that are sublime, serene, and just this side of cosmically joyful. Imagine Stevie Wonder, The Cardigans, and Broadcast came together and drank one too many martinis and reimagined Frank Sinatra as a space-traveling alien performer. The Bird and the Bee sound like lounge jazz pop for the future.
It seems long overdue, but we now have a Christmas album from The Bird and the Bee. Put up the Lights is a collection of Christmas songs given The Bird and the Bee treatment. The result is one of the most unique Christmas albums you’ll likely hear this year.
Inara George and Greg Kurstin sound like a pocket-size ABBA. A compact world of airtight vocals and exquisitely-produced songs that feel instantly warm and cozy. “Little Drummer Boy” lays the ABBA vibes on thick, with guest drumming courtesy of Dave Grohl. Inara George’s voice is so warm and inviting. It’s the kind of therapeutic tone that you want to just crawl into and nap in.
The Vince Guaraldi Trio’s “Christmas Time Is Here” seems made just for George and Kurstin. It’s jazz chords and laid back vibe seems to be the perfect vehicle for The Bird and the Bee to show off their chops. “Hallelujah Chorus” shines like a beacon in the night with grandiose vocals and Kurstin’s big production values. “Sleigh Ride” brings to mind vocal bands like The Andrew Sisters and The Lennon Sisters.
There are two originals here, including “You and I At Christmas Time” and “Merry Merry”. “Merry Merry” is my favorite of the two, with a great dance-y beat, catchy piano riffs, and of course George’ exquisite vocals. There’s a real 70s vibe here, with elements Jamiroquai in the modern production touches.
Put up the Lights is one of those Christmas albums you just fall into. There’s a warmth and otherworldly feel to the album overall, as if maybe you were dreaming it all on Christmas Eve slouched next to a plate of cookies and a glass of milk. The Bird and the Bee has given us a new album to add to the Christmas album rotation.