Glasgow duo, Honeyblood brought their distinct brand of lo-fi noise pop to Edinburgh last week in the final gig of their pre-sophomore release tour. No strangers to the more intimate venues such as Electric Circus, but this is a band destined for larger stages. The racket they make is barely contained in the packed out bar.
The band were supported by four piece, EAT FAST – a band who seemed to espouse the same wall-of-noise philosophy. Often with noise rock, the vocals are likely to get drowned in the mix with crashing cymbals and layered guitar fortifications suffocating any singing. However their vocals cut through well due to the singer’s upper range, an effective use of delay and reverb, and sparing cymbal use by the drummer. As a fairly frequent gig attendee, I appreciate these subtle adjustments which create extra nuance in what can be a pretty brash genre.
Honeyblood’s set lasted an hour, with the band debuting many unheard songs from the upcoming record. Frontwoman, Stella Tweeddale’s candid interlocution between bandmate Cat Myers on drums, their bass synthesiser Sebastian (serving as a comic third member and articulating himself via a series of chirps and bleeps), and the audience, smoothed song transitions and contributed to an inclusive friendly atmosphere.
The strength of Honeyblood’s fantastic self-titled debut was evident with the crowd really relishing such hits as ‘Super Rat’ and ‘Killer Bangs’. This however, did not seem the true objective of the night, which was to premiere the new material. Honeyblood have certainly evolved, adding extra beef by incorporating a bass synth and adding drum samples into the mix, playing guitar with a harder edge than their previous records, over the occasional dreamy soundscape. This is a step away from the DIY, low-fi feel of their earlier work; an inevitable progression as they acquire more acclaim. The catchy choruses and sharp lyrics of their first album are still abundant, only now backed up by a more developed sound.
Honeyblood capture that pure punk spirit. Not the aggression and revolt of the 70s, but the attitude that anyone can make music, and that it does not have to conform to the guitar/bass/drums model. What the duo have is a band stripped down to its raw elements. In such a setup one needs to have a real talent for writing to allow the songs to carry, and this is a test Honeyblood most certainly passes. Coming away from a gig such as this elicits a reaffirming feeling that at heart, all you really need is guitar and drums.
Honeyblood’s new album ‘Babes Never Die’ is out on November 4th.