honey beard

'whispers of light'

Best track: Like a fire

click album cover to listen

There must be something in the water in Canada as here we have another superb synth outfit from Toronto and in this reviewer's opinion, one of its finest.

 

Setting themselves apart from other Ontario based artists (perhaps nearest in tone to fellow Torontarians, Full Eclipse) Honey Beard are more firmly aligned, musically and in songwriting sensibility, with the tranche of early 80s synth pop bands (the second wave British Invasion if you will) such as Depeche Mode, Soft Cell, OMD and the like.

There are moments where vocalist Gary J Conlon channels Marc Almond, particularly evident in 'Under The Ferris Wheel' where his voice maintains the disciplined control - and even annunciation - of the English new wave synth scene. As 'Cross My Heart' starts you could be forgiven for thinking it's Bronski Beat before the vocals kick in, but it's no less catchy with its stammer-stylised chorus line; and brief and brilliant in its entirety. Indeed why spend more than three minutes on a track when it does all it needs to in that time?

 

'Full of Stars' - with its applaudable use of hand claps (see what I did there), searing pleading chorus, and twinkling synths sparkle elevates above a sea of vocal synthwave. 'This is Forever' is a more contemporary offering, and incidentally Gary's most naturally north-American vocal. It's perhaps the weakest track on what is an inarguably strong release, even considering the tough competition from HB's stablemates on Retro Reverb Records.

 

However, it's standout track 'Like A Fire' which is worth the admission price alone. It's quite simply one of the finest, dance-oriented synth pop tracks you will hear this year. With big bold pre and post chorus chords, more house-influenced hand-claps this time, and then that break into the infectious repeated refrain: this track gives me goosebumps everytime. It warrants mainstream radio play and is commercial-ready as it comes. Best played loud.

 

Whispers of Light feels like a grown-up EP, it showcases a straighfaced approach to songwriting, and bleeds an authenticity that cuts across the 80s decade from early new wave and even a deep dive into late 80s house. I would urge a purchase, and something tells me Honey Beard will be an act to catch live too. A solid 9.5/10 Rob Dyson

a visual representation of the album:

if you're in to this, you'll also like:

The subtheory, Fm attack, full eclipse and bunny x