Honeyblood @ O2 Academy 2, Liverpool, 18 Nov

Live Review by Lorna Gray | 25 Nov 2016

Liverpool three-piece Trudy and the Romance kick things off with disjointed riffs accompanied by doo-wop style vocals and raucous, sludgy guitar, creating a surfy garage feel which is simultaneously reminiscent of the jangly sounds of 50s rock’n’roll. It’s a quirky combination of genres that somehow complement each other, amounting to a uniquely trashy pop sound. Their enjoyment is evident, but they also seem wary of the unpredictability of their sound, as loose vocal structures make the already-gripping lyrics seem even more abstract. Still, a cover of Billy Fury’s 1960s hit Don’t Jump suits the band’s model perfectly.

Hailing from Manchester, five-piece PINS grace the stage in beatnik-esque attire before lead vocalist Faith Vern takes a leaf out of the Riot Grrrl bible, insisting girls should be at the front. They marry repetitive lyrics with loops of guitar, dripped in effects and radiating psychedelic, almost-hypnotic vibes; meanwhile their attitude (somewhat sultry, but with a hint of intimidation) and no-frills lyrics ('Don’t call me sweetheart') have feminist undertones, which are lapped up by the crowd. Suitably, there's a roar of applause at the end of their performance.

Glasgow’s Honeyblood have a dramatic introduction: the words “Never Die” (echoing the credo of stellar new album Babes Never Die) are whisper-chanted over the PA before they make an appearance on stage. Once they appear to plough into the new material, the whole room is immediately engaged by the duo's charming indie-pop (although they're later joined by a bassist, rounding out their sound more explicitly).

The new album is played in its entirety, much to the joy of their audience, although a few older songs provide a welcome break – there's even time for a cheeky rendition of Billie Jean and a selfie session on a fan’s phone, as we succumb to their playful allure.