Choosing to abandon any shallowness they were accused of on 2016’s ‘Warm on a Cold Night’, Honne return with ‘Love Me / Love Me Not’: a conceptual record that favours neither the good or the bad, the black or the white, instead exploring the grey area between.
Honne’s style is a miscellany of twinkling synths weighted with cinematic beats. ‘Love Me/ Love Me Not’ shows a duo more certain of their identity than ever before, every track marbled with these two influences.
The Japanese philosophy of two halves existing as a whole forms the foundation of the album, right down to the 12 tracks being divided evenly, one half exploring the euphoria of falling in love and the other the agony of falling out of it. It’s a careful, calculated unravelling of modern romance. It’s almost surgical in its strategy.
The standout track, away from the formulaic plodding-pace beats that often sound a little too lazy, is ‘Me & You’. Dyed with feel-good funk and fluid guitar grooves, it’s the most memorable song here. ‘306’ toys with Chainsmokers sensibilities, demonstrating some versatility, unlike ‘I Got You’ and ‘I Just Wanna Go Back’ - which barely scrape the barrel for some kind of distinction.
In a changed industry where attention spans are short and songs fare well on the strength of their bass drops, Honne’s crystalline, Mura Masa-esque beats will see them through - though only as easy-listening, nothing more.