Band of Bees second album Free the Bees is a rollicking, breathtaking romp through the '60s, calling to mind classic band after classic band but also conjuring up a modern and original sound of their own. "These Are the Ghosts," the CD's opening track, gives us echoes of the psychedelic-era Small Faces, the Kinks circa Village Green Preservation Society, and even, at times, Pink Floyd circa Piper at the Gates of Dawn. There are moments on "No Atmosphere" where they sound like the Small Faces quoting the Beatles obliquely from Rubber Soul, and elsewhere it suddenly sounds as though the ghost of George Harrison has stepped into the studio to throw in some licks from a White Album jam. And incidentally, the studio in question where this album was cut was, indeed, EMI Studio No. 2, the very same that the Beatles used, so the Bees re-creating elements of the Beatles' sound is no accident. "Chicken Payback" sounds like some discovery from the vaults of Stax Records, except that it's not – it's an original, and it is original, and could pass for some 40-year-old Northern soul discovery. "The Russian" comes off like a piece of soundtrack music in search of a movie, circa Blow-Up, like for a chiller (The Deadly Bees, perhaps?) or spy picture where the producers couldn't afford John Barry.
Self-avowed amateur musician Kevin Ayers left Soft Machine because they were too advanced for him. His claim disavowing pop music ran contrary to wanting to make money, and his attitude about writing critical songs flew in the face of his theory that many musical judgments are generally negative. The ultimate flip-flopper beyond the pale of many politicians, Ayers was admittedly a lazy drunk whose disdain for learning technique branded him not only an anomaly, but in many circles charming via an idiot savant persona.