Honeyblood – In Plain Sight
On Honeyblood's third album, Stina Tweeddale wrestles full control to create a pop record that is most comfortable slinging around in the sludge and dirt
It takes some guts to go it alone, which is exactly what Stina Tweeddale is doing as Honeyblood after parting ways with bandmate Cat Myers. But the real question is whether or not she was ever doing this in any way other than by herself? Tweeddale formed the band in 2012 with then-drummer Shona McVicar, who would only later be replaced with Myers. Tweeddale is the only mainstay; Tweeddale is Honeyblood. And on In Plain Sight, the third record under that name, she wrestles full control.
Honeyblood were always pop really, just under the dark shadow of shoegaze (Super Rat), dream pop (Killer Bangs) and grunge (Babes Never Die), and those now just seem to be affectations compared to what In Plain Sight is reaching for. But unlike the gleaming Self Esteem, which sees Rebecca Taylor out on her own, Tweeddale is splurging around in the sludge and muck of the pop world.
The record starts almost lightheartedly, but She’s a Nightmare soon proves itself as an electro-rock anthem worthy of an album opener before slick Ronettes melodies are caked over with distortion and fuzz on The Third Degree. The last movement of the album sees Tweeddale come into her own: Glimmer and You’re a Trick are gothic and spitting, with the latter, in particular, retro and menacing. It’s the foggy storm clouds of the debut as reinterpreted through acidic pop, and, if anything, it’s a shame the album takes this long to really flourish. Indie super-producer John Congleton is welcome on the boards, but he arguably provides a little too much polish, compared to his recent worthy efforts for Priests.
In Plain Sight is full of references to witches and hexes, nightmares, afflictions and tricks. This is framed around a disturbing, if fanciful, story of Tweeddale returning from her last tour with Myers and being haunted by a woman set on strangling her. There’s no reason to suggest that these barbs are aimed at anyone but the ghostly presence, but someone's on the sharp end of Tweeddale’s slings and, to be honest, it suits her.
Listen to: She’s a Nightmare, Glimmer, You’re a Trick