My first new favourite album of 2017 is “Babes Never Die” by Honeyblood. It was released in 2016, and I didn’t really pick up on it until the end of year reviews. Honeyblood are Stina Marie Claire Tweeddale (vocals and guitar) and Cat Myers (vocals and drums). They are from Glasgow.
Their sound is a punky/indie/pop mixture. I include the pop, because they have some great melodies. Listen to this album a few times and it really grows. And not only are there some great melodies, but they know how to lay down a riff – and in a way which I think will be awesome live. I’ll find out soon enough, as I’m seeing them at Koko in Camden in June. And they are at Latitude too.
Of course they remind me of some other bands – I have 40 plus years of influences to refer to! On the other hand, someone who is say, 18, could find them one of the most exciting bands they’ve ever heard, and pretty original. Like all good bands, they make familiar melodies, riffs and sounds their own. But for what it’s worth, the bands they remind me of most are Ash (Northern Irish indie-punks with equally great melodies) and Elastica (from the 90s). With a Scottish element, which brings in a bit of that celtic soul that I wrote about in my book, “I Was There – A Musical Journey”. You hear it in the slower songs like “Cruel” and “Hey, Stellar”, which I love. The singing by Stina has elements of Hayley Williams from Paramore too, and in “Cruel”, I was reminded of Courtney Barnett in “Depreston”. These are all good things!
Favourite songs? Well, the punkiest tune, “Ready for the Magic” is still the best, but it’s not typical. The opener, “Babes Never Die” also rocks, as does “Justine, Misery Queen”, which, notwithstanding the title, is the most singalong track on the album. “Sea Hearts” is rousing and “Love is a Disease” powerful. But I do like those two slower pieces, “Cruel” and “Hey, Stellar” just as much as the upbeat stuff. It’s just a great, accessible album.
Here are a couple of the official videos. But check out the whole album. It’s uplifting.
Nothing is ever entirely new in rock’n’roll, but the capacity of the music to regenerate, in the hands of young, spirited bands, is forever an inspiration.