When we think of Melbourne Australia, certain things spring to mind, and for any music buffs out there, particular bands. Everyone from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Men at Work, to King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, and a particular favourite of mine, Clowns. Melbourne has spawned an incredible wealth of fantastic bands over the years, like the world famous Crowded House, and lesser-known surprises like Jet. Well, now there is a new band to me, who are hopefully destined to share in that success, and that band my friends, is Honeybone.
The Australian three-piece aren’t actually natives of Melbourne, in fact, Honeybone’s actual founding roots are New Zealand. Formed in two thousand and nine, the band relocated in two thousand and twelve, and have been busy ever since. Extensive touring, multiple EP’s and live releases, and somewhere in amongst it all, they also released the album Talk Back Baby in two thousand and thirteen. The last couple of years has seen the eclectic three piece working on their newest release, Spheres, and it’s an absolute belter of an album. If you have a love for all things Blues Pills, but a tad more bluesy, then Honeybone are going to be your trip for sure.
The trio, is comprised of Rachel Trainor on drums and main vocal, Peter Jermakoff taking bass and vocal duties, and finally Drew Handcock on guitar and additional vocal. They create a psychedelic meets garage rock insanity, that’s as hypnotising as it is incredible. It isn’t very often you see a vocalist who is also the drummer, to my recollection there aren’t many, and the most memorable of the bunch is Phil Collins of Genesis. Obviously, it’s the music that speaks for itself, the rest is completely irrelevant. Going from the strength of Spheres though, getting an opportunity to catch Honeybone live at some point is also a must, as if they are as fantastic live as they are on record, it would be something to behold for sure.
Spheres, is a real breath of fresh air for me, it rocks like crazy, but at the same time it’s light and airy, creative, and intense. Right from the opening bars of Artificial Tears, it’s apparent that this is going to be far more than just your average rock album. It nods towards a retro late sixties and early seventies sound, rocky yet spacious. Like the second track Bruises, and track three, Sands, has me drawing comparison with the likes of Alison Mosshart of The Kills, and British band The Duke Spirit, they aren’t heavy, but they’re immensely energetic. The aforementioned Sands has me jumping more towards a Blues Pills vibe though, that heady mix of retro blues meets hard rock takes me away from my initial thoughts, and plants me in a different place completely.
Track four, Metathesiophobia, opens up, and shows just what Honeybone are made of. The term ‘Metathesiophobia’, according to a Google search, means ‘the persistent, abnormal, and unwarranted fear of change’, and that does make sense listening to this track. After being used to Honeybone’s style to this point, they really change things up, and it’s by no means anything to even worry about. It is literally ‘an unwarranted fear of change’. It‘s mostly an instrumental piece, it hits more of a stoner chord, and is the longest track on the album, coming in at almost eight minutes. There is one verse in the mix, but it’s more a statement than it is anything else, and temporarily breaks up the track nicely.
heady mix of retro blues meets hard rock…
The two tracks that I personally get the most from are tracks six and seven. Thread The Needle blends the styles of both Blues Pills, and The Duke Spirit, and as a lover of both bands, this really resonates with me. It has the whole blues retro thing going on, but is also a little more curious. As it opens, it sways toward that The Duke Spirit vibe, it’s a little unnerving and urgent, dark and mysterious, without being out of place. And Rachel’s vocal has me firmly aiming towards some of Liela Moss’ swagger. With its bass rumble twisting through the track, and the additional keys, it really is something to behold. This one needs playing loud, especially throughout the guitar solo, simply magical.
Bones, is not dissimilar, the opening guitar led bars are insanely cool, with Rachel’s vocal flowing across them luxuriously. This track oozes sultry, it’s stylish, and mystical. It also shouts Blues Pills to me, if you’re a fan, you will already understand what a phenomenal band they are. This is so on point to that vibe, that without drawing the comparison, there’s no other way to express it. If you are unaware of Blues Pills, then this is all irrelevant, so all I can say is that unless you’re a soulless monster, a black hearted thief of joy, then you will fall in love with Bones, even from the first listen. The mix of spiralling guitars, lavishly layered over exuberant drums is fantastical. The bass thickens the sound, and this bluesy masterpiece easily rumbles its way in to my heart. It is so epically cool, that to bumble past it would be a huge mistake.
Album closer, Mist, with its dual vocals, bluesy rhythms, and crunchy guitars, is a wonderful finish to proceedings. It’s incredibly reminiscent of Jack White, not so much of his White Stripes legacy, but more his solo work. This track would easily grace any Jack White project, and when the guitar break kicks in, it’s impossible to ignore. It’s literally the definition of uber cool within heavy music, and it keeps me hypnotised right up to the closing seconds.
How I’ve managed to miss Honeybone for this long is a complete mystery to me, and I can only be eternally grateful to The Sleeping Shaman for bringing this album, and band, to my doorstep, as I feel extremely lucky to have found Honeybone after all my years of following the heavier side of life. This is an album that’s going to be on constant replay in my house for a very long time indeed.
Scribed by: Lee Beamish