Garage-rock duo Honeyblood are certainly generating a buzz as loud as their riffs if the number of posters plastered round the capital are anything to go by. As such it’s little surprise that the Electric Circus, a venue of salubrious decor, but Lilliputian dimensions, is squirming room only.
Up first were EAT FAST (the capitals appear to be necessary), a genial Geordie quartet, who generate a neat, swirling guitar sound that is at times pleasingly reminiscent of some of the more expansive moments of Siamese Dream–era Smashing Pumpkins. However, their use of an echoey, delay-heavy effect on the vocals proves self-defeating, as they end up being sucked into the venue’s acoustic soup.
When Stina Tweeddale and Cat Myers take the stage, the warm reception shows they’re already outgrowing venues of this size, even if the intimacy of the Electric Circus would appear to be ideal for their Spartan set-up. Bravely, they largely eschew their popular eponymous 2014 record, intending that this gig acts as an introduction to the forthcoming album, Babes Never Die.
This risky choice proves the right one. There is never any danger of the crowd being alienated by potentially unfamiliar material, and it provides a showcase for the added beefed-up battery Cat Myers brings to the Honeyblood sound. That sound is an amalgam of cathartic lyrical soul-scouring and a razor blade and aspartame rush. At times they resemble underrated 90’s alt-rockers Veruca Salt, with the punky snark and vicious guitar jangle of fellow Glaswegians, Sons and Daughters.
They occasionally fall slight victim to the same sound problem that befell their support. During the noisiest moments, Tweeddale’s vocals get smothered in the mix, buried beneath her own guitar buzz. Therefore, it’s the quieter moments that work best this evening, as Myers tectonic slam works in aggressively perfect juxtaposition with Tweeddale’s plaintive melodic shimmer. It’s not a new sound by any means, but what Honeyblood do have is a real ear for a hook, as well as real stage presence, and a genuine chemistry apparent in the music and on-stage banter that peppers the set.
As popular as the new material proves, particularly recent singles ‘Sea Hearts’ and ‘Ready for the Magic’, it’s signature tunes ‘King Rat’ and ‘Killer Bangs’ that get the best reaction. No doubt this will change during a forthcoming extended tour, when audiences will have had a chance to digest the album, but for now these prove a suitably anthemic end to proceedings.
It’ll be fascinating to see the progression of Honeyblood over the next year; one suspects we may have seen the end of them playing in venues the size of the Electric Circus. They have the songs, the attitude (and the looks and marketability if one is being terribly cynical), and a gritty, unpretentious approach that surely bodes well for their future.