Words: Jessie Smith | Photo: Holly Whitaker
The lyrics for ‘Start’, the opening act for Honeyglaze’s long-awaited debut, are written in their press as follows:
[Lovecraftian abyssal screaming]
And there is no better introduction to the self-titled album from the South London trio, who prove themselves to be figureheads of the city’s DIY scene with a 37 minute presentation of existentialism and youth. Tiptoeing around indie and ambient with a dancerly ease, we are either half-spoken or softly sung through introspective narratives by the clean and clear voice of Anouska Sokolow. The lyrics hold onto the ideals of ‘short but sweet’, all whilst the band wrangles with their sense of self.
Beyond the rapture of ‘Burglar’, which was the first of four single releases in the build up to today’s album release date, we are met with songs such as ‘Deep Murky Water’, where Tim Curtis’ bluesy bassline evokes a heady swinging of the hips. There’s an intentional childishness to the songs, propelled by the playful drumming of Yuri Shibuichi. At times the songs run the risk of sounding very ‘dear diary’, but this ultimately lends itself to the repeated themes of reflection and ageing. ‘Female Lead’ is a gorgeous exploration of physical identity, delivered with a wry smile and a bitten tongue. ‘Shadows’ calls out with crystal clarity against the creeping anxiety of knowing your nightmares will greet you as you settle down to sleep – The lyrical themes of fear juxtaposed against a light and bouncy instrumental, the combination creating a sense of acceptance.
The world that Honeyglaze creates for us is one that feels slightly uneasy, within their realm all is mildly off-kilter. I sense that this is the intended effect, but there is definitely some space that’s yet to be filled and some stories that aren’t quite fully fleshed out. For a debut, however, this is nothing short of staggering. Although they emanate Hayley Henynderickx and (in my opinion) an early Sharon Von Etten, Honeyglaze have a sound that sets them apart from the rest of their up-and-coming peers from the stage of The Windmill Brixton. Vulnerable in lyricism and emotionally intelligent in chord progression, I truly believe that Honeyglaze could take over the world if they build upon the foundations that they have laid out with this first offering. ‘Honeyglaze’ lives up to the imagery conjured by its name, and the band itself mustn’t be missed as they play throughout the summer of 2022 – stopping at The Great Escape Festival in Brighton and announcing a brand new headline for London.
Thursday 20th October – Jazz Cafe, London (tickets).