Album review: Honeyblood – In Plain Sight

Album cover for Honeyblood's In Plain Sight, which is out now.

Album cover for Honeyblood's In Plain Sight, which is out now. - Credit: Archant

Glaswegian gal goes solo on hook-laden third record, trying out new sounds along the way.

Having worked her way through two bandmates in as many albums, former frontwoman Stina Tweeddale takes on the full Honeyblood mantle for this third record.

Flying solo for the first time, she has recruited super-producer John Congleton (Angel Olsen, St Vincent, Sharon Van Etten) to oversee the project, and between them In Plain Sight has become a full-blooded juggernaut that crashes headlong out of the speakers.

Her knack for the occasional witty couplet and big, brawny melodies are brought to the fore with crisp production and injections of synths, and together with an overarching doomy atmosphere (perhaps aided by recording around Halloween) there are flashes of The Kills at times, although the record's bubblegum-punk heart is never far away.

The synth work can be a hit-and-miss affair - the keys underpinning the heartbreak of loving a two-timing partner in Touch ("Does she know that you're here tonight? Does she know what you're really like?") are disconcerting and predatory, but the bloopy notes of You're A Trick make for a clumsy alliance with Tweeddale's fiery words.

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"If we end up on the pile at least no-one died" she sings at the opening of Gibberish, a roiling riposte to those who trade in rumour and spin. It's the first of three tub-thumping rock beasts - The Tarantella builds from a tense, ominous Latino intro to a towering volcano of fuzzed bass and screeching guitar, thunderous drum and almost shamanic, double-tracked vocal.

Tweeddale asserts her power further in the strident Take The Wheel, a driving guitar-and-drum assault matching her authoritative tone.

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These are among the strongest tracks on the record - other experiments with new styles and directions (including the bruised-but-optimistic piano ballad Harmless which closes the record) are competent, but the punches don't quite land.

In Plain Sight is often big and bold, but doesn't always have the edginess or excitement to back it up.

3/5 Stars.

Honeyblood play The Garage, Highbury, on October 31.

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