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. “Super Rat”, one of the stand out tracks from their self-titled debut, bristles with venom and disgust at an ex lover. With the no nonsense chorus “I will hate you forever/Scumbag, sleaze, slime ball, grease/You really do disgust me”, it’s so far removed from the typical, retrospective, longing break up song that it acts as an enormous breath of fresh air. The majority of the Scottish two-piece’s record serves to show that they aren’t willing to play along with what’s expected of them.
With such a minimal set up, Shona McVicar on drums and Stina Tweeddale vocals and guitar, they pair produce songs that sound much bigger than the sum of their parts. “Bud” is reminiscent of the LA based Americana made by the likes of Best Coast or Rilo Kiley front woman Jenny Lewis’ Jenny and Johnny project, and at times has an almost country-type, new Nashville feel to it. At times the heavy, discordant guitar and rough vocals aren’t enough to make the songs stand out and there’s a portion of the record that melds together with no moments that really recall the attention. “No Spare Key” has an almost emo or pop-punk feel to it, but it doesn’t really stick in the way that some of the earlier songs on the record do.
Closer “Braidburn Valley” shows a much gentler side to Honeyblood - with much softer vocals and a quiet guitar accompaniment, it sounds the way that 5am on a Sunday morning feels when you’re walking home after a night out and you’re not entirely sure if you’ve had a good time. It seems to sum up that slight stagger, the early morning quiet that lends itself so well to introspection and self-reproach. The song, and its following, piano-based hidden track, are the perfect closer after so much intensity throughout the record. While the album has its forgettable moments, there are points where McVicar and Tweeddale really show what they’re made of – and that, if you piss them off, you’re going to know about it.