Honeyblood - Honeyblood
- Malcolm Jack
- 8 July 2014
Accomplished self-titled debut a successful take-off, despite some inconsistencies
Between the Glasgow music scene, Brighton’s FatCat Records and New York-based producer Pete Katis (he of Interpol and The National repute), a runway to success has effectively been laid. Be it towards a steady ascendance in commercial returns, international touring and critical acclaim (The Twilight Sad, We Were Promised Jetpacks), or eventually potentially even graduation to a major label and a shot at the heights of the top ten (Frightened Rabbit). The latest band taxiing into position is duo Honeyblood – singer/guitarist Stina Tweeddale and drummer Shona McVicar – though quite what kind of altitude they’ll achieve is difficult to discern from their accomplished but inconsistent self-titled debut album.
Between Tweeddale’s spry, gutsy singing style – her voice always positioned high and bold in the mix, complimented intuitively by McVicar’s sweet harmonies – and a natural way with a lip-glossy kiss of a garage band indie-rock hook, Honeyblood undoubtedly have assets, even if they’re not always necessarily deployed to the best possible effect. ‘Super Rat’ is based around an overstretched sewer rodent analogy, but features a few fantastically plain-speaking disses to a ‘scumbag, sleaze, slimeball, grease’ of a cheating ex-boyfriend. The chorus of ‘Choker’ is a grungey sucker-punch of a thing, but by rehashing that big, clunky old cliché ‘what doesn’t kill you, just makes you stronger’, it smacks of a dispiriting sense of ‘this will do’ in lyrical terms.
‘Killer Bangs’ is a tremendous, hurtling, melodic scuzz-bomb in the Breeders style. Exquisitely textured break-up song ‘Bud’, meanwhile – which was released as a single last year – marks Honeyblood as a kind of Scottish Best Coast, and remains their best song yet, though it isn’t clear quite why the perfectly good original version that we’d already grown so familiar with was deemed unfit for purpose, and a new same-but-slightly-different mix used here. It’s a typically niggling little frustration about this record – a successful take-off for Honeyblood, make no mistake about it, just not necessarily as smooth as it could have been.