Pale Honey by Pale Honey

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The lead single from this self titled debut long player, ‘Youth’ has received some very positive reviews with Q Magazine amongst others drawing comparisons to early P J Harvey and Sleater-Kinney. The instrumentation certainly bears the hallmarks of early Polly Jean – a verse with sparse and pointed guitar giving way to a chorus featuring a growling riff and heavy drums. Whether the song carries the same kind of intrigue as Harvey’s early work though is perhaps another matter.

Listening to the album it’s hard not to have those comparisons in mind, which is maybe a little unfair on the female duo from Gothenburg. After all those are big reputations to live up to. And Pale Honey ultimately fail to do so. However, taken on its own terms this is a debut record with plenty to admire and carrying great promise.

Opener ‘Over Your Head’ is standard indie guitar pop fare that could almost live up to its name but things pick up quickly with the jauntily brash ‘Fish’ taken from the band’s debut EP ‘Fiction’ released in the late Spring of 2014.

Fish by Pale Honey

The aforementioned ‘Youth’ is followed by the catchy ‘Bandolier’ which would not sound out of place on a Veruca Salt record (that’s a compliment). ‘Fiction’ boasts an upbeat tempo that could almost be termed ‘dance’ and whilst it represents something of a change in pace, somehow by this stage things have begun to sound rather too similar with the ‘loud/quiet’ formula to the fore.

The album continues in similar vein with Tuva Lodmark’s confident and cool vocal delivery often proving the ingredient that raises the songs above the average. That said, by the time track 7 (of 10) ‘Desert’ lurks forward it appears that the ideas have somewhat dried up. As a result interest takes a steady decline until the obligatory slow closer ‘Sleep’ provides a welcome contrast, at least in pace.

In a crowded field of female garage rock bands Pale Honey just about manage to live with the likes of Honeyblood and PINS but if they aren’t to be left trailing in the wake of those bands Pale Honey’s follow up will have to show progression and a little more originality.

This debut album boasts some decent songs but I’m not convinced that there’s depth to be uncovered by repeat listening.

Reviewer: Russell Poad

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