Honeyblood’s pioneering mean girl-core.
Honeyblood is really good at insults. On their debut self-titled album, there’s the sharp “When Mother Nature planned for age / She must’ve forgot about you,” followed by the backhanded, “Growing old gracefully / Is an art form, you see,” on “All Dragged Up.” “Super Rat” opens with a deceptively breezy guitar riff before going in, “You are the smartest rat in the sewer”. It gets worse. By the chorus, singer and guitarist Stina Tweeddale doesn’t bother sugarcoating it. “I will hate you forever”, she sings and drummer Shona McVicar joins to help with some classic, biting namecalling: “Scumbag, sleaze, slimeball, grease / You really do disgust me”. Something tells me “Super Rat” would fit right in on the Mean Girls soundtrack, which probably has something to do with its pretty, pleasant sounds that not-quite-mask the sharp, sometimes malicious, lyrics. But seriously, a Cady-Heron-hanging-out-with-the-Plastics montage always inexplicably starts rolling in my head when “I will hate you forever” kicks in.
The Glasgow duo doesn’t save up all their smart punches on the record for amazing jabs at exes, and Tweeddale’s smooth, sweet voice carries the strength and attitude behind the barbs through all of her emotions and stories. Honeyblood muses on happy relationships, moving on from bad ones, supportive best friendships and passes on practical life wisdom: “You know you’re destined to lose / When a fortune cookie dictates your next move,” (“Fortune Cookie”); “Cynics never fall in love / They just blame it on lust,” (“Joey”); “Time is against us / Circumstance likes to dick around,” (“Killer Bangs” — plus, points for the phrase “dick around”). As Honeyblood transitions through all sorts of relatable Young Adult Feelings, they naturally flow from noisy pop and ’90s rock to upbeat punk and bluesy ballads.Honeyblood, out on FatCat Records, isn’t missing anything by not having a bassist — Tweeddale and McVicar don’t need it. After releasing only a cassette and two 7″s, they’ve just about perfected writing full, lush pop songs that thrive by not having anything extra added in to muddle things up. It’s fitting that Honeyblood’s first full-length record opens with “Fall Forever,” because they’ll surely fall “straight into your heart”.