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CD of The Week

Week of 10/31/16

    Honeyblood - Babes Never Die (Fatcat)

    It's no secret that Honeyblood are the queens of sour punches of admonition and declarations of female empowerment. That still rings true on their new record Babes Never Die. Their sophomore album rockets forward through darker shadows then their self-titled debut, losing the saccharine overtones in favor of a grittier punch. Showcasing the powerful drumming of Cat Myers behind Stina Tweeddale's increasingly impassioned songwriting, the new set of songs reaches deeper into dark romance and crashes together harder with the finesse of a band that has spent a good deal of time on the road.

    Playful dynamics and kinetic movement supercharge the heaviest hitters on Babes Never Die. The first single and the song on the album most likely to get a crowd dancing, "Ready For The Magic" bubbles with crunchy textures and a brief pause that nails home the song's addictive, lustful chorus. "Sea Hearts" is a rush of vagabond flirtation that will "break hearts, break hearts, breaks hearts that get in the way." Layered with a grace to create a foggy atmosphere, the expansive sound of the chorus from "Walking at Midnight" contrasted with the drifting verses is a great example of careful studio work enhancing Tweeddale's enchanting songs. Momentum circulating in the rotational hum of "Love Is a Disease" is almost sickening in a way that perfectly matches the theme of the tune and once again highlights the album's added polish.

    As the album progresses, it slowly resolves its own arguments and bitter emotions in testament to the loving nature underlying the collection's hostile outer shell. The relief and self-realization begins in the charging sway of "Hey, Stellar" as Tweeddale's graceful lilt reaches for the stars in the chorus. "Cruel Kids" flows in arpeggiated chords and fluttering organ that wrap around the album's gentlest melody.

    With Tweeddale's growth in melodic creativity expanded and fine-tuned by live performance and patient production, Babes Never Die is a blast both literally and figuratively. A clear step forward in musical maturity, Honeyblood's sophomore album clarifies the sentiments they've always been expressing in louder choruses and more complicated sonic landscapes. It's a bitter and charming at the same time, sticking true to the duality of their band name.
    Review by Shana Hartzel

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