by Jonathan Bannister (@j_utah)
One thing about the reverb soaked haze of shoegaze is it doesn’t allow for a lot of rock out moments. Oomph is exchanged for a steady all enveloping wave of sound. However, as the 90’s arrived with its anger and grunge showed how to have catharsis through the music, bands like Failure, Swervedriver, and Hum infused the two sounds, defining the edge to the effects heavy wave and giving it a harder ebb and flow that allowed for the emotions to reach the same peaks as the volume. Honeyrude come from this line of the sound. Like fellow Austin reverb warriors Magnet School, they give you all the dream like mood but with it kicked into 5th gear.
Honeyrude started back in 2013 when Ian Lund and Billy Kunath started playing together. After a year of going through a few singers they met up with Jess Ledbetter when she moved from Brooklyn and then their drummer Paul Goetz joined in 2016 after agreeing to sit in on drums for a tribute show celebrating The Cure. Self-recorded, The Color Blue is eight tracks showcasing everything that Honeyrude does well. Originally intended as an EP, they found it quickly turning into a full-length. Each song flows into the next, there’s peaks and valleys to the sequencing, much like you would find in the songs. It shimmers and blazes with sound and intensity even in the quieter moments. They encase their influences with their own distinct, sound. It’s an album that allows you to mine for those moments that will touch you at the right time, finding something new to hit repeat on each time you listen.
Songs like "Ring, Ring, Ring" that start out full blaze but then go into its bass dominated verses, Ledbetter’s voice confident and low as she talks of rebirth. Lund’s accents on the guitar pointing the way for how to bob your head along. It’s all a beautiful ache. Or "Lover in Denial," shaded with a U2 like sense of urgency. The way Kunath's bass line pushes the pace and never lets you off the hook. "Flowers" is the emotional centerpiece of the album. A rumination on love that can never be, the song makes up for the beauty that the love can’t provide. A representation of the beauty we imagine that relationship would be, never dwelling on where it could all go wrong. There’s something to be said for never knowing what might have been.
There are no wasted moments on The Color Blue. Each song has its own unique charm. "Sorry I'm Late" struts in all its Brit rock glory. There’s the college indie rock play of the guitars and bass on "Roger McClain." "Falling Backwards" with its drive and churn, Goetz utilizing the whole kit while the whammy heavy guitar tones that infect the choruses all work to create a song that out-swerves Swervedriver.
The Color Blue is an album you’ll want to play start to finish each time, each song working to build a collective vibe that compliments the whole. You’ll find yourself loving songs more because of where it comes in the album and that listening to the songs before builds it up to being a euphoric release you won’t find if you just skip to that specific song. It’s an impressive work for being Honeyrude’s first album and leaves one wondering where they will go from here. Space is the limit.