HoneyChild – Nearer The Earth
Released: August 31, 2010
I may sound clichéd here, but HoneyChild is probably one of the best bands you’ve never heard. The band, currently comprised of Tobias Jesso (Guitars & Vocals), Noah Gersh (Guitars, Banjo, Mandolin, & Vocals), Erik Donley (Vocals & Guitar), Jamie Schefman (Bass & Vocals), Lance Piebenga (Keys), and Rheese Detrow (Drums), hails from Los Angeles, California. Gersh describes, “We’re all very different, and all have incredibly unique things to bring to the table.”
The band’s self-released debut Nearer The Earth was recorded with just two microphones and a laptop, but the eight-track release contains a bright, sunny sound that is filled with brilliant moments of layered melodies and instrumentals.
Opener “The Father” begins the album with a mellow, passionate sound that is both gripping and inspiring. The soft crooning is emphasized by the twinkling guitar in the background and rhythmic clashing of the drums, creating a powerful mix of emotions and passion that is both didactic and contemplative: “I couldn’t leave my land by the deep doors, my eldest son…”
The pace of the album picks up with “Tijuana”, an uplifting anthem that feels suitable for a stadium. The aptly titled “Driving Song” is warm and inviting, with a catchy chorus that begs for a sing-a-long on a long road trip: “Soldier standing with head fake high / What could have been of your life / The fields have grown / We won’t live that long / I got home I got / Take me home.”
“Lonesome Tiger” and “The Owl” are slotted in the middle of the record, with both songs containing metaphoric tales of nature and life: the lonesome tiger finding love and the sage owl calmly watching over the world. “Joker’s Wild” sounds like a clever blend between a natural, folk-roots sound and the indie rock-infused sounds of Portugal. The Man, something the band must have picked up during their shows with P.TM, Alberta Cross, OneEskimo, White Denim and more.
My main gripe with the record is the relative brevity of the songs. The eight track of the album last only about twenty-six and a half minutes, with the longest track (“The Owl”) lasting 3:51. Most of the songs begin by launching the listener directly into the song, which works superbly on “Driving Song” and “Tijuana”, but the more subtle build-ups in “The Father” and “The Owl” are layered perfectly, creating a dreamy, powerful atmosphere. While the head-on approach works well for the band, the slower songs are more engrossing listens overall and, personally, my favorite songs from the album.
Standout Tracks: “The Father”, “Driving Song”, and “The Owl”