If you’re going to listen to Songs From The Realm, the upcoming EP from Joplin, Missouri’s Me Like Bees, get ready. You aren’t sitting down to stroll through some lighthearted tunes. You’d better lace up your sturdy boots and get ready to charge into danger. Songs From The Realm isn’t your average EP. These 5 songs are inspired by a graphic novel called The Realm, telling the story of a group of people learning to survive in a hostile, post-apocalyptic world. The graphic novel’s creator, Jeremy Haun, says this unique collaboration began when he asked Me Like Bees to write a song to go along with his story. That turned into Songs From The Realm.
Haun describes “The River Divides,” the first song on the EP, as something that sounds like it could be part of the opening credits for an HBO or Netflix show. (You know what I mean, there’s a Portlandia sketch about it!) He’s right. “The River Divides” is rhythmic, catchy, and dark. It sets the scene and makes you want to learn more about The Realm. It’s a somber battle cry, declaring: “There is worse in the world than the wars in my head/take it or leave it/you’re already dead.”
The bluesy “Long Gone” follows. Killer guitar and bass lines, brass, and electronic elements bring to mind Jack White and The Black Keys. Every song on this EP features incredibly clever lyrics, but the bad ass “Long Gone” demands an especially close listen.
“Ruinous Days” has a more traditional indie-rock vibe. I’ll admit this genre is not my forte. However, “Ruinous Days” does lighten the mood a bit. As you can imagine from the title, it’s still dark, expressing sadness at the demise of the characters’ home. But it acknowledges “nothing gets so bad when it’s faced with someone.”
Songs From The Realm begins to wind down with the Americana-tinged “Polymartyrdom,” Much like “The River Divides,” this one also sounds like it could be the theme for an hour-long cable TV drama, thanks to some ominous electric guitar touches.
The EP closes with “If I Go.” The jazzy tune declares the character’s desire to die with dignity, pleading “If I go/don’t leave me here/not in the dark/not in my fear.” There’s a lengthy, almost hymn-like outro that brings a fitting close to this epic story.
Me Like Bees has really created something special with this collection, packing more musical variety, thoughtful lyrics, and storytelling into just 5 songs than many bands manage to put into a full-length album. You can enter the world of Songs From The Realm when the EP releases on March 30.