Honeyblood - Honeyblood

“Everyone is an author with something to say / Everyone’s got a picture to paint,” laments Stina Tweedale on 'Biro', one of many moments on this sharp and accomplished debut where the Glasgow duo belie both their age and their alleged musical heritage. A generation on, and despite lazy reportage that innacurately casts them as Brit-indie re-workers, this astute duo wisely take their cue from the 90s US alt. epoch. And boy, do they mould those materials well. Tweedale's guitar is a dominant factor - largely strummed and immacutely set up, it's genuinely distinctive; a fug of overdrive that defines Honeyblood’s impressively full soundboard. It may well recall a very particular and perhaps narrow time and place, but done this well, there's little cause for complaint. Older heads will spot shades of Julianna Hatfield’s Hey Babe, Belly and prime Dinosaur Jr. Shades of 50s girls groups, a hint of Maria McKee in Tweedale’s voice, help season the mix and give it colour and soul.

There’s so much going on in here. So much that, when you hear Honeyblood talk about how they had to rush to complete recording, galloping to squeeze their last few songs into a final couple of days’ studio time, the mind boggles. Honeyblood is guitar pop at its very finest, a finger-in-the-air, tongue-in-cheek, knee-in-the-groin eruption of guitar, drums, vocals. It’s the latter that will get you first, Tweedale all volume and vibrato, but Honeyblood are a duo whose full sound hints at a half dozen uncredited members. Oh, and take note, fans of characterful drummers: Shona McVicar got some mighty chops, and plays with style and feel.

It dips a little, sure, but barely enough to register. ‘Super Rat’’s “I will hate you forever” hook pales beside the ragged minor chord elegance of 'I'd Rather Be Anywhere But Here' and the unsettling confessional of ‘Braidburn Valley’ (“Another fucking bruise, and this one looks just like a rose”), as does the no-messin' 'All Dragged Up'. But these minor niggles count for little. Honeyblood are afire with a vagabond spirit, a punk ethic that has a taste for tunes as well as attitude. By the time ‘Killer Bangs’ offers up the wonderful “Time is against us / Circumstance likes to dick around”, Honeyblood has you on the ropes. Pop perfection, or something worryingly close to it. Buzz buzz buzz. Girls’re loud

Overall

8

out of 10

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