Release Date: Jul 15, 2014
Record label: Fat Cat
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Noise Pop
“I will hate you forever!” goes ‘Super Rat’, ”Scumbag sleaze! Slimeball grease! You really do disgust me!” Look, honestly, our phone just ran out of battery. Can we at least get our Sufjan box-set back? Be careful with that, it’s coloured viny… oof! Yes, bullies, bastards and bullshitters beware, Glasgow’s Honeyblood have cooked up 40 minutes of sonic chemical castration and they’re coming for every lover and loser that’s ever fucked them over. The demon-eyed duo’s debut, recorded in Connecticut with The National’s producer Peter Katis, makes for a delightful demasculation.
Since their inception as Honeyblood two years ago, Stina Tweeddale and Shona McVicar have been honing their brutal and upfront tunes, with solid and catchy singles such as Super Rat and Killer Bangs upping the anticipation levels for an album. With a little help in America from Peter Katis (Frightened Rabbit, The National), they are finally putting out their eagerly-awaited self-titled debut. It’s also been a lengthy wait – this release was originally meant to be released in May before being pushed back – but the delay has luckily worked in their favour, given that it now arrives slap-bang in the middle of summer.
On first listen to Honeyblood's infectious self-titled debut, you'd never guess this Glasgow-based group was only a two-piece. Frontwoman Stina Tweeddale's sticky, springy guitar licks are splayed out over Shona McVicar's percussion; they expand and fill the mix like a whole can of foaming shower spray being blasted into a two-liter bottle—it's easy to assume there were three players in the studio assaulting their six-strings. And so many earworms, too—short rock songs with big pop hooks you'll need to crank up to drown out your own singing along.
Honeyblood's self—titled debut was something I thought would remind me about things I tried to forget. Namely, listening to Best Coast for hours on end with an ex that drove me insane. I prayed that this band wouldn't throw me back to those miserable days. Really hard. Reason being is I'm a big ….
At first glance, Honeyblood seems tailor-made to embody as many indie rock trends from the late 2000s and early 2010s as possible: they're an all-female guitar and drums duo playing noisy pop heavily indebted to the '90s, right down to their compound word band name. Yet Honeyblood's moniker also reflects the fascinating duality of Stina Tweeddale and Shona McVicar's self-titled debut album, on which they deliver equal amounts of sugar and grit -- as well as a surprising amount of nuance -- with their guitars, vocals, and drums. Tweeddale's voice is so ringingly clear that it's a pleasure to hear, whether she's singing sullen surfer-girl pop à la Best Coast on "(I'd Rather Be) Anywhere But Here" or about bruises that look like roses on the closing track, "Braid Burn Valley.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. Having emerged from a bustling Glaswegian scene of DIY artists and musicians, Honeyblood allow themselves the luxury of flexing their muscles on a polished debut album bursting with catchy hooks and melodies. Honeyblood never strays from their chosen MO of delivered tight, cohesive pop tunes pumped full of sass and angst.
Honeyblood’s Thrift Shop EP was the stuff of serendipitous discoveries. The EP—basically a cassette single, B-side and all—was recorded in a bathroom and sounds as such, but its lyrics were at turns sharp and swooning, with just enough charm breaking through the lo-fi roar. The band's members, Glaswegians Stina Tweeddale (Boycotts) and Shona McVicar (Partwindpartwolf), met at a show both acts were playing and bonded over being women in their respective bands—in Tweeddale’s case, the only woman in the band—as well as the music they grew up with.
Honeyblood are from Glasgow, but the duo – Shona McVicar on drums, Stina Tweeddale on vocals and guitar – sound as if they’ve been transplanted from America’s vibrant mid-90s alternative/indie rock scene. The 12 songs that comprise this eponymous debut brim with the multiple personalities of McVicar and Tweeddale’s influences. There are not-sosubtle hints of Rilo Kiley in No Spare Key and echoes of Veruca Salt in the sinister Choker, while Fall Forever and Killer Bangs come off as a more honeyed, syrupy, saccharine Sleater-Kinney.
Glaswegian duo Stina Tweeddale and Shona McVicar came together in 2012 via a shared love of Best Coast. Their debut album certainly sounds indebted to Bethany Cosentino's impassioned take on surf-flavoured indie rock, right down to the lo-fi sheen, which they bafflingly had to travel all the way to Connecticut to get just right. Their lyrics don't always hit the mark: the invective of Super Rat is almost embarrassingly playground in tone, and does Tweeddale really sing "Dog walkers have thrown their bones" on Braidburn Valley? And yet the winning likes of Biro and Choker suggest there's enough promise here for them to transcend their current Second Best Coast status in time.
This Glaswegian female duo's name harks back to the days when it was fashionable to combine polar opposites to form an eyecatching moniker – the Stone Roses, Mudhoney et al. Lo and behold, their music has much in common with late-1980s/early-1990s indie, too. They namecheck PJ Harvey and Throwing Muses in interviews, but their sound is actually more akin to the excitable, lo-fi indie-pop fuzz of the Shop Assistants or the Darling Buds.
When it comes to break up albums, the pop route tends to focus on the heartbreak side of the emotional spectrum. Robin Thicke has recently proved, in the most cringe inducing way possible, that this isn’t something that’s exclusive to women, but there’s been a trend of late of focusing on the sadness that comes with the break down of a romantic relationship, rather than the vitriolic, boiling hatred and rage that so often accompanies it. Honeyblood, however, aren’t content to play the victim.
In love, at least, Stina Tweeddale can’t catch a break. On the new album by the Glasgow duo Honeyblood, she is aggrieved and exasperated, falling hard only to be let down harder. Honeyblood is a bracing two-piece — Ms. Tweeddale sings lead and plays guitar, and Shona McVicar plays drums — that specializes in a refreshing contrast of jangle and derision.