Shona and Stina vaguely knew each other in Glasgow. Both were in bands that were creaking at the seams, so they decided to jump ship and form their own.
That’s it, really. Much has been made of Honeyblood’s origins, previous groups and gender, but that’s it, right there, in a nutshell: two people thrashing out a noise, having fun, and making it all work.
This eponymous debut album for FatCat Records is the result. It’s an old-fashioned singles set, both in terms of high points and its general content. Essentially rooted in the failures of relationships past, it funnels these emotions, the conflicting states of hatred and desire, into scuzzy three-minute noise-pop melodies.
So expect something akin to (reference points alert!) Best Coast, No Age, Hole, Mudhoney or The Clean. ‘Killer Bangs’ is terrifically sulky while ‘Bud’ has a gem of a chorus and some of the wittiest lyrics this side of Norman Blake.
Yet it all feels slightly uneven. ‘Honeyblood’ is a little like an early 1960s pop record, encouraging the feeling that it revolves around certain high points – the singles – and a few bits to expand on this: B-sides, as the parlance goes.
Alongside this, Peter Katis’s production can at times strangle the band’s live thrash. In concert, Honeyblood can be a ferocious, engaging, whiplash-inducing phenomenon, but here tracks such as ‘No Spare Key’ sound more than a wee bit flat.
Perhaps this is a little too damning, though. At its best, ‘Honeyblood’ displays a duo with innate chemistry, with an eagerness to stamp out their identity in a carefree, illicit and – yes – feminine manner. Wherever they go next, it will be on their own path.
Words: Robin Murray
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Listen to ‘Honeyblood’ in full via Deezer, below…