If it wasn’t for the distinctive twang of Stina Tweeddale’s vocals, the Honeyblood heard on ‘Babes Never Die’ could easily be confused for a totally different band to that of 2014’s self-titled debut. Well, it’s half true: ’new’ drummer Cat Myers stepped in just months after its release, and what had been committed to tape as soft, almost dream-like recordings quickly beefed up. The pair’s early live shows together often featured Stina forced to play catch-up on her own songs, such was the unfamiliar ferocity of Cat’s stick-work. The nearly-there bite of debut numbers like ‘All Dragged Up’ and ‘Choker’ became full-on chomps.
And it’s from there that ‘Babes Never Die’ carries on. There’s an opening hat-trick of smashers, the title track, ‘Ready For The Magic’ and ‘Sea Hearts’ making full use of pop-punk tropes: handclaps, devilishly infectious yell-along choruses, call-and-response guitar lines and a heart-warming gang mentality all collide to brilliant effect. ‘Babes Never Die’ may have begun life as Stina’s chest tattoo, here it’s a call-to-arms for female solidarity.
The record isn’t without any quiet points, mind - ‘Walking at Midnight’ is dark and swirly, ‘Cruel Kids’ brings the pace down completely, and there’s even still time for a hint of the debut’s wistfulness with ‘Gangs’. But for the most part, Honeyblood’s second outing is a delicious face-punch of a record, running amok in the best way possible with everything they’ve learned since first time around.
‘Ready for the Magic’