Artist Review: Stereo Honey

‘Statement making, spine tingling and hypnotic, this is music that comes at you from all sides.’

Intro to Stereo Honey
Since releasing their debut ‘Where No One Knows Your Name’ in January this year, London based band Stereo Honey have continued to make waves in the UK music scene. Comprised of Pete Restrick, Nicky Boiardi, Ben Edwards and Jake Black, their sound is one that applies power and sensitivity at all the right times. Hypnotic in places, uplifting in others, this is music you want to be surrounded by.

Featured Track 1: Where No One Knows Your Name
Starting out with a solo synth sequence, ‘Where No One Knows Your Name’ sets off in an unassuming yet anticipation filled way. Formed of triplets and affected by echo, each note gently blurs into the next creating an hypnotic atmosphere. Unusually, while you may expect further instrumentation to come in next, it doesn’t and instead you are greeted by the lead vocal. And what a vocal it is. Balancing on top of the weaving synth accompaniment, it is equally hypnotic in nature and while it edges towards unsettling, the falsetto filled tone, is an incredible one.

Following the initial verse lyrics, the second half brings greater depth and with rhythmic drum patterns and prominent synth bass lines joining the dreamier textures, the track begins to take off. You just know it’s going somewhere. Its destination: a statement making, spine tingling and powerful chorus where you suddenly feel like you’ve landed in the middle of a Radiohead track. Containing ingenious uses of unfinished lyrics and soaring textures, it’s a fantastic sound.

On reaching the second verse, much of the same accompanying ideas from earlier are used however, the lead vocal is a different story. Already working in the upper range of the male voice, it increases even further. Add to this the use of delayed backing vocals and it’s just as hypnotic as the opening. It short, it demonstrates musicality to highest of levels. However, the musicality of the track doesn’t end there, far from it.

Unexpectedly, after what has been a constantly building sound, it cuts out revealing a succession of overlapping acoustic based ideas. These – as a potential musical nod to the bands name – come at you from both sides and as they merge back into the original textures, you are completely enveloped by the epic sound. Pushing musical boundaries right to the end, it’s a debut that ensures everyone will know their name.

Featured Track 2: The Heart
Opening with a combination of echoing and reverberating guitar tones, there is a similar sense of sparseness to the introduction of their first track. In contrast though, it feels more relaxed than hypnotic and as a sustained synth string part enters, you wonder if ‘The Heart’ will live up to their debut. You don’t have to wonder for long though, as on hearing the opening line of ‘Bless your heart and your soul’ you realise it will.

The vocal, with its enticing nature, is one that speaks to you as though it is actually directed at you. Enhancing this atmosphere, the accompanying textures are prominent, yet unobtrusive and with the drums noticeable by their absence, you hang on to every word. In a contrasting manner, the second verse sees the introduction of more percussive sounding elements, a thumping bass line and a regular sounding beat.

Alongside this slight change of musical direction, there is also a distinctive change of mood. Ironically lighter sounding in its nature (given the lyrics of ‘I’ve given it all to someone else,’) the chorus combines accompanying elements of a more melodic nature with a darker edge. This format, which is highly successful, is replicated as we head towards the final sections of the track.

Featuring key elements of the chorus – this time in instrumental form and harmonised by vowel sounds – the bridge guides us perfectly to a full sounding reprise. Ending in a sparser way than their debut, you realise that while ‘The Heart’ may beat slightly more gently, it’s just as impressive.

Featured Track 3: The Bay
Driving from the start, Stereo Honey’s latest track, ‘The Bay,’ opens up with a sustained bass synth tone. Sweeping and bending, it guides us, in an otherworldly way, to a thumping drum pattern. It’s full of intent. It’s full of power. But most of all, it’s full of musicality and as rhythmic bass lines combine with gently emerging free flowing guitar lines, it feels almost cinematic.

Like the bands other tracks, the verse is full of considered lyrics and with references to the ocean, grains of sand and the shoreline seamlessly combined, you can’t help but smile at the continued musicality. Giving us more with every note, the continually driving nature of the distorted guitar led link section helps the track to build into the second verse.

Reaching this point, the vocal pushes even further than on the other tracks and with sublimely controlled uses of glissando, it literally soars to new heights. Meanwhile, the accompaniment maintains its relentless energy. However, while this continues, a contrasting guitar sequence, based on spread chords, brings a beautiful, more delicate element to the track. This, as it turns out, isn’t to be the only new element to be introduced.

Developed from before, a resurgence of the epic sounding instrumental link occurs. This time however it is extended and combined with soaring vowel-based vocals, we are taken to an unexpectedly contrasting bridge section. Featuring all the best elements of their music, it forms the perfect showcase ending. I don’t know what’s on the way, but if these tracks are anything to go by, it’s sure to be incredible.

All of the tracks reviewed are available to buy on iTunes and you can follow Stereo Honey‘s latest progress on Twitter.

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