Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Reviews:: Honeycut When I Turned to Glass

Let’s get this out of the way early. I couldn’t help but think of Marty from Scapegoat Wax as the opening track on Honeycut's new album started, and it sketched me out a bit (because even though I really liked songs on the record, I found my attention drifting early and often). The vintage keys, what I thought were programmed drums and Bart’s souled out vocals made me wonder if Honeycut would rely on one sound, or if they'd have the diversity and staying power to keep me listening.

Instead of losing me, they hooked me. Their debut record – When I Turned to Glass - takes a lot of sharp turns and the trio draws on their diverse backgrounds to create a solid listen for almost any music fan. The trio is made up of keyboard/arranger Herve Salter (who is best know for getting keytarded on some Blackalicious tracks and runs with DJ Shadow), vocalist Bart Davenport (who is a veteran of the Bay city music scene that fell in love with soul and R & B), and MPC programmer Tony Sevener. Tony’s contribution is the key to this project, because his modern beats really make this project more than just another attempt at old soul. Instead of sequencing his drums, he plays out each note live giving it a more organic, jam feel that fits perfectly.

Ranging from ballads to bangers, you can really find a song that will hit home with any one. The vocals and drums on Shadows and will make you gravitate to the dance floor, in a Phoenix type sway (the chamber strings and guitars are so nice), but the trio takes some chances by lacing the record with souled out grooves.

Unlike so many crooners, Bart willingly shares the spotlight with the strings, keys and drums on the ballads, even stepping away from the mic on the Ratatat inspired Aluminum City. As a result, your attention doesn’t drift and your thumb doesn’t slide to the next button on the slower, emotional tracks. Bart manages to pull of the falsetto without straining or forcing the issue but on tracks like Polaroid Lullabye and the Prince-esque Crowded Avenue the arrangements are so nice you start trying to follow the vocal lines and the music separately. As a result, you are engaged on almost every note.

For me, the most addictive track on the record is Exodus Honey. The summery guitars and chorus coupled with a funky breakdown make this a song destined to be scattered on mix cds for years to come. All in all, When I Turned to Glass is an ambitious project in an all too often abused genre, but the trio pushes through strongly and it will be interesting to see where they go from here.

MP3:: Shadows
Listen to their set on The Morning Becomes Eclectic
web page :: label :: more tracks

Posted at 2:13 PM by ack :: 2 comments

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At 7:38 PM, Blogger Erik did sayeth:

great article about Honeycut. My website actually did an interview with these guys when they were in SF for Noisepop a few weeks ago and I cut a video of it. Check it out!


At 4:04 PM, Blogger Toronto Music Scene did sayeth:

Honeycut really blew my mind when we saw them play at Virgin Festival in Toronto. Our website was so impressed we had to do an interview with them and spread the word. For those interested, the interview can be found here


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