Search The Line of Best Fit
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Honeyblood - Oslo, London 11/02/15

16 February 2015, 10:30 | Written by Dannii Leivers

How different things could have been for Glasgow’s Honeyblood. Only two months after the release of last year’s well-received debut, drummer Shona McVicar abruptly up and left vocalist and guitarist Stina Tweeddale alone in one of Britain’s buzziest duos. Losing a member at such an early stage, especially when there’s only two of you in the first place, would be enough to kill off most bands. But Honeyblood are tougher than they look.

Whereas Shona was a picture of unflappable cool, new drummer Cat Myers sweats it out, bringing a new energy and a grittier edge. She drives wickedly sharp dance-romp “All Dragged Up” at a frantic pace and reduces the blissful “Joey”, in its final moments, down to a frantic, shambolic racket. On record, Honeyblood’s lo-fi, shoegaze echoes and twee vocals have drawn comparisons to Best Coast’s sun-kissed sound and 80s indie janglers Darling Buds and Tallulah Gosh. Yet live, their guts and rage really come to the fore. Here, they hold much more kinship with the grungy bluster of The Breeders, Throwing Muses and PJ Harvey. Myers’ effect on the band’s sound is palpable and Tweeddale feeds off the beefier sound with shrieks, snarls and riot grrrl posturing. The overall feel tonight is one of raw and realness.

Of course the band have always relished the play-off between acidic and sweet. Their self-titled debut, recorded with The National’s producer Peter Katis, was barely able to constrain the spit and bite that lurked beneath the surface of a scuzzy yet sunny haze. In the studio, he buffered the Sundays-indebted “Fall Forever” to wistful ends. Tonight though, stripped of the superfluous polish, it opens with a roar. Similarly, single “Choker” sounds muscular and confident. But the duo know when to pull back from the brink. The guitar chords of “Biro” remain slightly shrouded while the emotionally bruised “Braidburn Valley” sounds as wincingly vulnerable as it is abrasive.

Before a brilliant performance of “Killer Bangs” with all its scrappy charm brings the house down to close, it’s time for a shout-a-long to their best loved song. “This one’s called “Super Rat”!” Tweeddale shouts strumming those gorgeous opening chords, a massive smile on her face as the room bellows pop’s most venomous breakup chorus back at her; “I will hate you forever! You really do disgust me.” The good-for-nothing boys of this world can’t hold this pair down.

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