Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Album Review: The Honeybrains - Gettin' Tender EP

The Honeybrains
Gettin' Tender EP
*** out of *****

(Jazzfest's second weekend starts tomorrow, and while RtBE feels it is the best festival in the country, New Orleans is more than tuba's and second lines. As the fest arrives we wanted to take some time to review smaller various bandcamp finds from the city, as the town just pulsates music culture and art.)

For our focus on lesser known New Orleans artists and releases recently we touched on new wave, hip-hop, death metal and DJ's, but we saved our favorite for last. There is not much info to be gleamed about the New Orleans instrumental outfit The Honeybrains. No online presence outside of the Tender Rat Records bandcamp posting of their excellent EP, Gettin' Tender. Then again when the music is this engaging what else needs to be said?

The group works in murky surf rock waters, recalling the days of The Ventures, Dick Dale and Link Wray but they aren't paddling out into sunshine and big waves, rather the swampy bayous and overgrown canals of the deep south. That distinction comes through in some of the eerie under and over tones with the title track opener. Warbling guitar, ominous bass and cymbals that chatter like skeleton teeth, the music even matches the retro styled cover art.

The ripping "Tombstoned" picks up the punk energy as it comes full force moving with shaking solidness and while it might call to mind a famous city in Arizona, it is the follow up "Witch Breasts" that would be the perfect Sergio Leone spaghetti western soundtrack tune. Acoustic guitars strum while electric ones scratch out the theme as organs and rich bass wrap it all up. 

The group dives right into the late '50's malt shop weeper with the final tune, "Don't Dance With Me (When I'm Dead)". While the other songs all felt musically full with no real need for vocals/lyrics, this track seems ripe for some singing about a boy who crashed his hot rod or girl who won't look your way. The production on the album is a bit fuzzy and raw and this suites the sounds played, The Honeybrains are onto something good with Gettin' Tender. 

Support the band, buy the album on bandcamp and stream it below:

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