For fans of Wild Beasts, Radiohead, Nothing But Thieves
As I age it becomes more difficult to remember which decade I’m in; I guess I’m slowly building up to a time for where current life becomes so unpalatable I can gently retreat into comfortable memories.
At the recent wondrous first Live at Leeds Ones to Watch 2018 gig where nine deliciously diverse bands strutted their stuff at the Wardrobe in Leeds, London based Stereo Honey emerged as a firm favourite. I was immediately swept back to a summer teen memory in Huddersfield’s only gay club, at one with the beat of the likes of Bronski Beat and the Communards. Stereo Honey lead singer, Pete Restrick, has a fantastic falsetto singing voice to rival anything Jimmy Sommerville could produce, and Stereo Honey have a clear dance vibe to their beats. Imagine Matt Bellamy doing 1980’s disco.
Live Stereo Honey are a little more shoe-gaze than on record, and the strong lush spacey sound of the band (Ben Edwards (bass), Nicky Boiardi (Guitars and Keys – Nicky studied music at Leeds University) and Jake Black (drums) make up the quartet) provide a full rich sound that pulled me into memories of 1990’s Radiohead. Other rather sensual and fluid elements of the band reminded me of the recently departed Wild Beasts, and their gig I witnessed in Lisbon this summer. There were influences and memories from four decades in a sole 30 minute gig; no wonder I’m confused.
Stereo Honey have recently (September 29th) released another stunning track, The Bay, and it’s a pretty perfect piece of spacey, pacey, swirling, indie-disco. However, Stereo Honey are not simply the producers of pretty rhythm and striking voice. The lyrics of The Bay reflect the horrific drowning of 23 exploited Chinese migrant cockle collectors in the Morecombe Bay area in 2004, and that 2 of the dead were not found. The song imagines them as lovers with their memories still swirling and floating in the bay. Songs with strong emotional subject matter like this tend to put simple “Moon in June” love songs into the shade.
The Bay compares favourably against the other Stereo Honey releases of 2017. Their first big track, The Heart was released in May 2017, and it’s another strong, deep melancholic and yet bouncing and confident tune; this time it’s a strong and cautionary tale of an abusive relationship.
Given that Stereo Honey have only emerged during 2017 it’s clear they are making a big impact already. They are already signed up to a management deal with Riverman (who already manage the likes of Placebo, Wild Beasts and Deaf Havana) and I can only predict huge things for the future for this complex and striking band. A four song EP, Monuments to be released in early December, will feature The Bay, and another “monument”, The Angel of the North, where in the Stereo Honey song Angel the iconic statue is compared to the sirens in the Ancient Greek Homer’s Odyssey luring motorists to their demise.
If you missed Stereo Honey at the Live at Leeds One to Watch or the 2017 Neighbourhood Festival in Manchester recently, you can catch them playing live in the north at Newcastle’s Think Tank on the 20th and if you want to avoid risk of being tempted by that evil Gormley Angel on the Motorway, you can see them in safer territory back at the lovely Wardrobe in Leeds on 30 October.