The songs of Honeyglaze amble through interpersonal moods like a ruminative photo album. The London trio’s self-titled debut album drifts; a self-proclaimed “opposite to a concept album”, bundles of varying circumstances form themes of harkening self-worth, tampered by all that may intervene, directly or musically.
Whilst citing the inspiration behind 2013’s Melophobia, Cage the Elephant’s Matt Schultz quoted Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock – “if you’re not slightly embarrassed to sing the lyrics, you’re probably not writing a good song”. The naked-on-stage vulnerability that follows this phrase is the prime consistency of Honeyglaze, murmuring through Half Past – “I get up half past three / struggle with self-esteem” – whilst flinching at life’s banalities, knowing that those who hear these words are likely to judge, but it’s time to start being as real as possible.
Female Lead is as honest-as-can-be, succumbing to vanity inspired by trends set in movies. Singer Anouska Sokolow’s admitted shallowness is tangible; she later humanises and amuses herself – “there’s matters far more pressing than letting hair drive me insane / but I’m ashamed to say that I have always been this vain”. Young Looking reflects and opposes, snubbing trends before decrying patronisation in a moment of raw character growth seldom seen on your everyday indie pop record.
A collection of humanising one-liners, Creative Jealousy is one with its temperament, one with its heart-on-sleeve, green-with-envy themes – “creative jealousy, please don’t think any less of me” / “I can’t shake this feeling of constant inadequacy”. However, much of the album allows achy emotions to coincide with achy creativity, rarely filtering one from the other as the unease of Burglar’s lyrics match its Colin Greenwood-style basslines, as the crescendo crashes of Childish Things unleash tides of emotion that soak Sokolow’s regrets.
Occasionally, the signatures of Honeyglaze’s instrumentation will take over from their themes, obscuring the “smell of coffee” addressed by Sokolow on Deep Murky Water with guitar and bass interplay reminiscent of either Fleetwood Mac’s Albatross or any of those later Beatles songs that were inspired by Albatross. The bassline of I Am Not Your Cushion does the bulk of the talking, startling when considering how crushing Sokolow’s lyrics of dependency are.
As independent music focusses on its DIY stance, fewer cliches will exist within the sphere. The tight jangle of Shadows is stereotypical, but partially out of friendliness. It encompasses Honeyglaze’s debut album’s longing; to be felt and heard, regardless of embarrassment, eventualising an embrace. All that these kinds of indie projects will have in common in the future – other than textbook guitar-oriented instrumentation – will be comfort in laying it all on the line.
Honeyglaze’s self-titled is on-show, passionate about being on-show, projecting a candidness we could all learn from and be entertained by. It is that ruminative photo album.