Speedtraps For The Bee Kingdom
(2000, Fading Captain Series)
Released in 2000, this Pollard related one-off is an avant-noise clattering affair, with a few (tiny) glimpses of pop-ness, and a whole lot of instrument wanking around. Comprised of Robert Pollard, brother Jim Pollard (general non-musician noisemaker extraordinaire), and glorified roadie/early '00s GBV guitarist Nate Farley, Howling Wolf Orchestra represents a firm line in the sand for people still hanging onto Pollard's every word at the turn of the millennium.
The 9th release in Pollard's Fading Captain Series, fans up to this point already had the opportunity to hear such confounding releases as Nightwalker's In Shop We Build Electric Chairs... and Hazzard Hotrods Big Trouble. Nevertheless, Howling Wolf Orchestra seems to be the release which often spills from the mouths of average to semi-crazed followers as the point where the hands went up as a final admission of defeat to the massive discography.
While it does contain some real head scratchers, the mini-LP is not without its charms. Still, it should be approached with caution. For fans of Pollard's Nightwalker, Acid Ranch, Sunflower Logic, and certain Circus Devils tracks, Howling Wolf Orchestra's lone release provides 8 tracks in under 14 minutes, recorded professionally with producer/friend John Sough.
Released on CD and LP (limited to 1000 and 500, respectively), Speedtraps For The Bee Kingdom remains a somewhat difficult release to track down.
You Learn Something Old Everyday- 4 Have I lost it? This track? A 4!? Repetitious, half-assed drum march that sounds like sticks lazily falling on a detuned snare drum. Pollard sings a relaxed, decent vocal melody over it. All of this leads toward dissonant guitar swells, creating on slap-dashed, eerie opener.
I.B.C.- 4 Super short, Wire-esque post-punk track. Pollard's vocals echo over hopeless, dank guitar riff and one-note bass rumble. Love it! Repeat.
I'm Dirty- 4 The most pop-song of the record. Has a mid-90's, off-the-cuff GBV EP feel. 2000-era GBV began playing this live on occasion, as well. Repetitive, slightly melodic guitar line with repeating Pollard vocals to close it out.
It's A Bad Ticket- 2 One minute washout with flat-out gross guitar effect and limited drum stops. Pollard sings stream of conscience beat poetry stuff. Nothing to write home about, or really anywhere.
Satyr At Styx & Rubicon- 1 Cosmic bullshit. What a waste of everything. Pulsating sound throb with delay on vocals, and brother Jim's guitar feedback.
Is It Mostly? (It Is Mostly)- 1 Instrumental track. Mainly a snare hit produced to sound like shitty gunshots. Starts off with piano sounding like a second-rate The Fall song. Culminating in sounding like last-rate nonsense.
Where Is Out There?- 3 Acoustic, melancholy guitar pop picking with some bright Pollard vocal sections. Vocals are spacey and delayed, detracting slightly and unnecessarily, but the track is overall short and sweet.
Fruit Weapon- 1 Even the title stinks. Metal riffage comes distantly out of one speaker while doomy mood bass and infantile drum bullshit loops out of the other. All instrumental, for what it's worth. No thanks.