The Bird and the Bee are the ideal Valentine’s Day band. Like two lovers locked in perpetual embrace, Inara George’s vocals and Greg Kurstin’s everything else fit together snugly, encased in high-gloss production values and lit by the glow of a lava lamp. Maybe their self-titled debut (released last year via Blue Note) and quick-to-follow Please Clap Your Hands EP were too shiny to be truly sexy. In terms of class and craft though, George and Kurstin are this generation’s Warwick and Bacharach. And with the digital-only One Too Many Hearts EP, they continue their cardioid trajectory, birthing another brilliant, spit-shined pop paean to the vagaries of love.
Timed to coincide with Valentine’s Day, One Too Many Hearts offers a scant four songs — one for each chamber of your heart — and yet within each there is a world of immaculate sonic detail. A first pass through the EP picks up the snappy drum programming on “Birthday” and the vintage ’60s lounge-funk flavor of “The Last Day of Our Love.” Listen on headphones and the complexity of the generously overdubbed Georges starts to gel, while “Come As You Were” lights a path to pop Nirvana with handclaps, layered keyboards and deceptive chord changes in the chorus that never cease to surprise.
The charming 1920s duet “Tonight You Belong to Me” (famously covered by Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters in The Jerk) caps off One Too Many Hearts with whistles and silvery starlight. The moony material totally jives with the Bird and the Bee’s sleekness, a sure sign that they’ve tempered the cheeky irony that grated a bit on past outings “Fucking Boyfriend” and “Polite Dance Song.” Like most great relationships, One Too Many Hearts starts off with surface-level attraction and then just gets better and better the more you get in to it.