Where to start? Glasgow-based Honey and the Herbs released Gloaming on the 3rd of June. Every once in a while an album arrives from way out of left field, an album that is not easily crammed into the neat pigeon holes of genre and forces you to engage your brain.
Every track is an individual; from the beautifully ‘Destiny’ to the Bacharach harmonies of ‘Croona Lumbago’ and ‘Tank of Brine’ which sounds like a carousel full of whales playing a Theremin.
This is barbershop singing on steroids, big brass and dazzling harmonies combined yet the instruments can drop away and leave the voices almost acapella. I can’t listen to it without picturing a man in a bowler hat dancing sensuously with a chair in a South American bordello; it’s possibly the campest thing you will hear this year, strutting out and proud. The production is slick and very professional (self recorded I believe), the singing is gorgeous and it’s well proportioned aurally.
Track one, ‘Destiny’ is a dazzling barbershop tour de force with a sleazy jazz trumpet. ‘When He is Born’ skips to voice synthesised electro pop before ‘Yo Mama’ brings in a 50’s, Grease, feel. The dreamy barbershop harmonies of ‘Waiting For My Baby’ are joined by the brass for a big finish. ‘Moving A Box Around’ has a vocal reminiscent of later Beach Boys and the weird ‘Tank of Brine’ with it’s sci-fi movie sound effects intrigues.
‘Croona Lumbago’ catches a Latin/Californian vibe, ‘Distortion Brenda’ is very Sergeant Pepper era Beatles and ‘Nutfucker’ is (to use my original notes); Electro drama, chase tune, bit Sonic the Hedgehog in places, from a Japanese game score where your girlfriend has been kidnapped by French spies. And that leaves ‘Far Far Away’, beautiful singing over melancholy piano and trumpet.
This is an album in search of a boulevard to be played on, until then enjoy Andrew Pattie, Rory Haye Adam Stearns and Gavin Thomson sing ‘Destiny’ in a video by Jim Burns