Live Review Honeyblood, Sebright Arms, London 23rd September 2014

Honeyblood may have lost a member, but they’ve not shed any momentum.

Honeyblood have barely started and they’re already on drummer number three. Which in itself is not completely without precedent: a brief flick through the annuls of history, indeed a brief watch of Spinal Tap, and you’d learn something about the temporary nature of those destined to sit on a stool through their musical career.

But in this case it just seems it may be a little more effecting. Not least due to percentages - as a two piece, the recent exit of drummer Shona McVicar (replaced by Cat Myers) equates to a 50% change in the line up. Which to try and put in context would be a bit like Jason AND Howard citing creative differences and buggering off at the SAME time.

Although there’s no direct reference to McVicar’s departure here, there is a moment where Stina Tweeddale announces she’d like to “introduce someone very special” before pointing at Myers. There are also several occasions when she talks about “our” first single and “our” debut album with a certain amount of pointed emphasis, as if she’s half expecting East London’s resident pedant to haughtily announce that actually, it’s a wee bit duplicitous to declare them as “our” anything and that maybe the possessive determiner you should be reaching for is ‘my’.

Still. Everything moves on. The concern is that the promise they’ve shown to date would be derailed by what has occurred, but thankfully, this show didn’t suggest that. It suggested that these songs have enough to keep Honeyblood going strong.

The jangly ‘Fall Forever’ is a pleasant, vaguely reminiscent of The Sundays. ‘(I’d Rather Be) Anywhere But Here’ offers a twisted take on wistful reminiscing over a pretty lilting guitar line, while ‘Bud’ is half a step away from slapping its thigh, chewing a corn stalk and declaring itself to be the Rhinestone Queen of the hoedown - while remaining entirely charming.

Honeyblood, Sebright Arms, London Honeyblood, Sebright Arms, London Honeyblood, Sebright Arms, London Honeyblood, Sebright Arms, London

Thematically, it runs the line between innocent naïveté and bilious, scorned party. Musically it goes between folky prettiness and snarling, don’t-mess punkiness. And somewhere between those points they join it all up into something immensely charming. ‘All Dragged Up’ careers along with a maniacal wide-eyed energy, while the wonderful ‘Killer Bangs’ is infatuatingly gorgeous, complete with the sort of insistently sing-a-long chorus that burrows into your subconscious.

As they themselves sing on Choker, “What doesn’t kill you / makes you stronger”. Honeyblood may have lost a member, but they’ve not shed any momentum.

Photos: Nathan Barnes


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