The lengthy pause since Honeyblood released their door-slamming self-titled debut – it’s been two years, during which time they’ve toured with Courtney Barnett and, just over a year ago, played Murrayfield with Foo Fighters and Royal Blood – speaks for the quality of that first record. A work of lo-fi grunge guitars and often-bitter lyrics about scumbags and the bloody chambers of Angela Carter, the gothic Glaswegians (in style – their musical layers and tone reach for more than hard-hitting rancour) can now look back on a work unweathered by the timelapse, although anyone expecting them to have gone MOR in the meantime might be disappointed by new single ‘Ready For The Magic’.
In the video, singer Stina Marie Claire Tweeddale snarls malevolently in a forest alongside what the band call their “feral” children, who dance around a scarecrow-mast-turned crucifix, axe locks of each other’s hair off and perform various Wickerman-style rituals. It clocks in and out quickly and might have matched the venom of their old singles were it not for the lyrics, which are all about sparks flying and passion. On the surface, they’re an entire contrast to some of their previous choruses – most notably the one on ‘Super Rat’, which bears the lustfully heartfelt “I will hate you forever”.
Drummer Cat Myers, who has become the newest half of the duo since the first album, has an endearing reputation as a willing teacher of amateurs in Edinburgh and one of the most dextrous pummellers of a pair of sticks in any band right now. One of her first appearances, in a gift of a free show above The Joker in May 2015, inevitably ended in a stage invasion in the darkness above the pub. It’s cheering to contemplate the rock theatrics potentialised by Honeyblood’s reappearance in another small venue here.
‘Babes Never Die’, the new album, comes out in November, supported by a US tour and featuring an image of a ghost-like girl glaring against trees with scars on her face. There are no new chapters here: only more grisly imagery, more poison pen letter rock melodies and, you suspect, an even more energised version of their tightly-wound live approach.
Patterns, Thursday 29th September 2016
Words by Ben Miller
Photos courtesy of Mothership Group