Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
Recently in the Independent Spotlight, I’ve had a series of independent electronic artists that have been rather good. This, as I’ve remarked repeatedly, is exceedingly rare. That’s because the independent electronic genre is immensely inundated with bad music, shoddy production, and uncreative efforts. Next to hip hop, it’s probably the most flooded indie outlet. Thus, I have a particular admiration for artists and groups that can pull it off originally and well. Honey Beard, an Irish/Canadian electronic dark-pop duo based in Toronto, does just that.
In June of this year, Honey Beard released their debut studio effort, ‘Thousand Million Things.’ It’s been met with significant acclaim, even scoring them an award nomination in Toronto this award season. That nomination was well-deserved, because Honey Beard does an elegant job infusing pop musings with intuitive, classic electronic stylings. Citing bands like Depeche Mode and the Doors, Honey Beard is the perfect culmination of contemporary and classic influence - they’re the nexus of a particularly exciting modern discovery.
‘Drive’ exemplifies this - the opening of ‘Thousand Million Things.’ I absolutely adore the soundscape the duo has crafted throughout this song - the synthesizers dance back and forth with remarkable tact, creating an exciting, inviting atmosphere. The robotic vocals melded with poppy, melodic vocals create a compelling dichotomy in the aural space as well. I love hearing an independent electronic act with a firm handle on their production - Honey Beard has created their own sound and they’ve matched it with equally superb production.
‘Stretch In The Evening’ is an infectious romp through Wombats-like 80s synthesizers, really cementing Honey Beard’s hold on their brand of pop music. ‘Electromorphosis’ continues that evolution with one of the more intelligent compositions on the record. The synthesizers on the track, along with the rest of the instrumentation, are particularly exceptional on ‘Electromorphosis.’
‘Into The Night’ introduces what I assume is the ‘dark’ element of the band’s ‘dark pop’ label. The lead vocalist’s crooning over a repetitive, moody synth beat is reminiscent of Ian Curtis’ vocal style over a Joy Division track. That comparison is a high compliment, and judging by Honey Beard’s slew of influences, one they’ll probably appreciate. ‘Superstellar’ is more... synth-y. It’s a bit overpowering on this track, in truth, but the solid vocals do balance it well.
Though I fear their synthesizers may be overbearing in their following studio endeavors, Honey Beard is, as of now, one of the most likable and enjoyable electronic pop outfits in the independent scene. ‘Thousand Million Things’ does everything it needs to to flesh out the band well, they just need to continue to evolve in their future releases. This style is immensely lovable now, but I foresee them running into issues if they don't continue to progress forward with each release. Stream the EP on Sound Cloud below!