Chances are, you’ve yet to hear the buzz about beekeeper (sic). But the Vancouver “post-pop power trio” is ready to fly from their West coast indie hive and take on the other side of the country. On January 19, the band will play their second Toronto gig, but as their guitarist and vocalist Devon Lougheed put it, they’ve “made the jump to an upstairs room” at the ever-edgy Sneaky Dee’s.

“I love the music community in Toronto. It seems really strong, and we get a great welcome when we come,” said Lougheed, who also belongs to another Vancouver indie rock band, Hey Ocean. When asked to expand upon a Toronto landmark he’d like to visit while here, Lougheed revealed the darker side of touring: laundry. “The last time I was in Toronto, with Hey Ocean, we hadn’t done laundry for a while...so we went to Honest Ed’s and I bought four new shirts, and wore them pretty much the rest of the tour,” he said.

With harmonies like honey and a sound both dissonant and danceable, beekeeper’s lyrics convey a familiarity with the sting of heartbreak. Like many indie bands with a similar style, they manage to turn stories of loss into either catchy hooks or mellow melodies--with a twist. Their first album, Be Kept, released in September 2010, told the tale of a heartbroken ex-pat with a taste for vengeance.

Their upcoming release aims to “push at the extremes” of their past work. This time around, their concert will serve an extra purpose: “We want to ‘road test’ the songs, and really hone them, then record them,” Lougheed said. “Things change when you play live a lot, and usually for the better. There’s a certain energy with a live show, and we want to capture that life, and put it on the record,” he added.

When it comes to live shows, beekeeper tends toward the theatrical. With a background in stand-up comedy, Lougheed is hyper-aware of the audience’s interactive potential, and plays up the interpersonal aspect of the concert-goer’s experience. “People often tell us after shows, that they feel like they were in the band,” he said. “Also, we demand solos from everybody,” he joked.

beekeeper’s other members, Brandy Sidoryk (bass and vocals), and Luke Cyca (drummer and vocals), each bring their own flair to the project. Sidoryk was trained as an opera singer, and Lougheed touts Cyca as the “mathematical brain” of the bunch. So how does this fit together? It’s not always clear. “One of the most exciting things about beekeeper is that, our style is pieces of hundreds of different styles that somehow seem to make up a whole; against all reason. We shouldn’t be able to make eleven style changes in one song, and make it work, without seeming pretentious, but we do,” Lougheed explained.

While conceptually ambitious and certainly not short on chops, with only three instruments at play in most songs, the musicality is sparse at times. Overall, one gets the impression that depth of sound is sacrificed for the sake of the esoteric. That said, with an affable frontman like Lougheed plus energy and talent, beekeeper is sure to put on an entertaining and unpredictable performance.

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  • Subtitle: Indie rock ensemble beekeeper 'road tests' songs for new album
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