Honeyblood | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN
Saccharine Melodies and Punk Snarl: Honeyblood takes on Ortlieb’s
Glaswegian indie-rock duo Honeyblood got a little attention from NPR’s nationally syndicated Sound Opinions a few weeks back, when co-host Jim Derogatis turned a spotlight on them as a newly recommended “buried treasure” band. The episode featured a clip of their new song “Walking At Midnight,” pulled from their upcoming sophomore LP Babes Never Die, out next week.
The fans who made it out to see them slay a stage at Ortlieb’s on Tuesday night though were treated not only to an opportunity to snag an advanced copy of the record, but to a killer live set of almost every new track, interspersed with fan favorites from their self-titled debut.
Honeyblood’s singer and guitarist Stina Marie Claire Tweeddale has evolved remarkably as a vocalist and lyricist in just a short time, from their DIY two-track EP Thrift Shop through their two full-length albums. Her material focuses heavily on relationship commentary and catharsis, brightly colored with poetic turns of evocative imagery. Their music often walks the fine lines of deliberate craftsmanship, as Tweeddale’s songwriting offers tropes without platitudes, and mysticism without camp. The new record is more polished than their earlier material without being too glossy, and there’s an irony in so much of her lyrics and their presentation that ranges from subtle to overt but still somehow never manages to get mishandled.
Beyond the punk snarl salt and the saccharine melodies, though, Honeyblood’s arguably greatest achievement is a stage presence much too big to be from just two people. Tweeddale has a hand in that, with her side of the stage banter, but when drummer Cat Myers channels her inner John Bonham on her kit you’ll find it hard to look away. She wears an innocent smile, but she’s a downright ferocious percussionist, lending Tweeddale’s vocals the muscular grooves that drive her words home.
As a bonus, fans who showed up early enough on Tuesday night caught a set from supporting band Jay Som, as Bay-Area-based singer and songwriter Melina Duterte contrasted her bandmates’ warped noise with her soft vocal contrasts. They wrapped with new single “I Think You’re Alright,” a perfect picture of lo-fi slowcore storytelling that comes unhinged with a disturbed distortion, and leaves you wanting more from the Bay Area band.
Ready For The Magic
Love Is A Disease
Justine, Misery Queen
Walking At Midnight
All Dragged Up
Babes Never Die