Somehow, through some inexplicable set of circumstances for this music blogger, I didn't realize that the new Honeyblood record was out already. Considering how much I loved the band's first LP, I was eager to hear Babes Never Die and, thankfully, the folks at Fat Cat Records obliged me. I'm so glad that they did as, in some ways, Babes Never Die is even better than the band's debut album.
The line-up is now Stina Marie Claire Tweeddale on vocals and guitars and Cat Myers on vocals and drums. The duo whip up a furious-yet-delicious racket throughout Babes Never Die and I enjoyed every bit of it. The title cut roars in a familiar way, while "Ready For The Magic" offers up an Ash-like crunch, the chords echoing both punk stuff and Seventies album rock. The catchy "Sea Hearts" serves up a sort of spin on late-period Ramones singles, while the lyrical "Love is a Disease" unfurls at a more languid pace. At their best, Honeyblood make fuzzy indie-pop like "Justine, Misery Queen" ring with promise. Here, as on so many cuts on Babes Never Die, Stina's vocals are confident and sunny, the brightness in her delivery contrasting so nicely with some of the grunge-y aspects of the instrumentation. On stuff like "Walking at Midnight", Honeyblood expand their vocabulary a bit to make something looser than earlier singles, while on the superb "Hey, Stellar", Stina delivers one of her best vocal performances as the strong melody carries the song forward. If anything, the material on Babes Never Dies confirms an undeniably strong bond between these 2 musicians with the results being confident and buoyant indie-rock that is, in many ways, an improvement on the band's first few releases.
Despite a change in personnel, Honeyblood remains one of the most vital acts in indie today. More fully-formed than the tunes on their debut, those on Babes Never Die are supremely catchy and infectious. Stina and Cat have cranked out some gems this time out, gems that will lodge in your brain with ease. Melodic and memorable, the numbers on Babes Never Die are all fine examples of the strengths of Honeyblood as a power-pop proposition.
[Photo: Uncredited pic from band's website]