Time. There’s no escaping it. Be it the right time, timelessness, counting down the hours, the seconds and the minutes or, taking the romantic route and falling in love to Broadcast’s ‘You and Me In Time’, it’s all a figurative escapade from the moment we’re born. One that even to this day, remains a concept that’s held over our heads eternally, with relative structural purpose.
It’s in this mindset of holding on to an otherwise fleeting moment, that the world is finally introduced properly, to Honeyglaze – the South London based, haiku-loving trio comprised of vocalist and guitarist Anouska Sokolow, bassist Tim Curtis, and Yuri Shibuichi on drums.
Born out of lead songwriter Sokolow’s un-desire to be a solo-act, the group met officially at their first ever rehearsal- just three days ahead of what was to become a near-residency, at their favoured ‘The Windmill’, Brixton. Forming a mere five-months ahead of a subsequent five-months of mandatory solitude, a parallel that’s both aligned and universally un-timely, Honeyglaze, at first appearance, are a group who play with chance, time, and synergetic fate, in a manner few others are able to do.
First impressions count; and sometimes the ones that last the longest, are the ones that appear out of the unexpected as opposed to the linearly pre-imagined. Against all odds, for Honeyglaze, all it took was a thirty-minute live-session recorded in the garage of their close pal Fran for ‘FarmFest 2020’, (an event which had the world been in better health, would’ve been held in the fields of a Catholic Workers Farm), for everything they once knew to change.
Pricking the ears of seminal producer Dan Carey and his team of merry taste-makers: Speedy Wunderground (Tiña, Squid, Black Country New Road), initial brainstorms saw the now-newly formed allegiance attempt to recreate the infamous ‘FarmFest’ live session, in album form. However, as is often the case in life, ideas fluctuated with time and synchronised brain-spark, and so the Speedy Wunderground / Honeyglaze partnership would manifest into a dynamic that, despite not having met prior, quite simply, just worked.
A significant step-up from their previous routine of writing, rehearsing and recording in Yuri’s bedroom, in the company of Carey and his team, Honeyglaze were introduced to an entirely new universe – one filled with a ‘Swarmatron’, long-sweaty afternoons in window-less analogue, and total, creative freedom; and so it’s with such visceral experiment, collaborative trust, plus the addition of a couple of new tracks, that Honeyglaze developed into the body of work we see today.
It must also be noted that so captivating was the charm of Sokolow, Shibuichi and Curtis, that most forms of ‘Dan Carey etiquette’ were dropped in order to ‘make it work’. For one, it was the height of the UK’s Winter lockdown – a factor which diminished Carey’s previous habits of seeing a band live, before he commits to working with them. In fact, it would be almost a year on before anyone had the opportunity to stand side-by-side and feel something, in a room together with Honeyglaze – a triumphantly unifying affair that was held at Hackney’s sweetheart: The Moth Club.
In all it took two months’ of rehearsals, and all-but three days’ worth of studio time to finish and record live, the eleven tracks that would come to not only be Honeyglaze’s debut album, and, the sophomore full-length on Speedy Wunderground, but also the trio’s first “real” offering to date.
Much like the eponymously debuted statements of contemporary Folk-singer Bedouine’s ‘Bedouine’, ‘Crosby, Stills and Nash’, or, dare we suggest Madonna’s ‘Madonna’, Honeyglaze the album presents to the world an audibly picturesque documentation of soul-searching, in all its figment’s of reality; a proclamation of cultivated intent which in turn creates a subliminal safe-space between relatability and self-projection, and creative-comradery paired with introspective artistry.
A self-described “opposite to a concept album” that sonically encapsulates the who, what, where and how of their individual circumstances coming together as one, Honeyglaze is a meticulously transformative feat of which, in their own eyes, is a “quite accurate” sonic encapsulation of who the trio believe to be.
This is storytelling at its most soulful, and Honeyglaze presents human-instinct in a manner that accepts all of the insecurities that come from their present adolescence, whilst acknowledging the formative maturity that’s earned when we allow ourselves to embrace the unknown, of our futures ahead.
“If someone is going to find you special – then you want to show what’s most special about yourself” notes Curtis. “Then you can do what you want from there.”
Mixing the personal with romanticised ideals in ways that are simultaneously heart-wrenching, and humorous to a dead-pan effect, there is no one trajectory for Honeyglaze who’s greatest ability, is finding ways to present what’s written in-between the lines, in moments of beautifully well-versed clarity.
Tackling themes varying from jealousy to inadequacy, cushion-y companionships to the smell of coffee on clothes, as with all good reflections of self, Honeyglaze is a fly on the wall opportunity to get to know three familial strangers in your own way- whilst they too suss out themselves, and the ever-growing circle around them, in the span of 35 minutes.
In keeping with their broody-Pop-come-Alt-Indie sentiments, in tracks such as the aptly titled ‘Start’: a solar complex stirring call from the top of Sokolow’s spirit, to the bass-y heart-pluck of Curtis, and back over to the rhythmically knobbly-knees of Shibuichi, or, the rollicking jangle of ‘Shadows’, Honeyglaze are able to command total encompass as the protagonists of their own melancholic-manifesto; an effervescent adventure guided by chord progressions, and seasonal changes in elation.
Where ‘Half Past’ is perhaps the groups most ‘raucous’ song instrumentally, debut single ‘Burglar’ is an enamoring masterclass in baring all, without needing to scream to be heard or understood. Beckoning, becoming and utterly bewitching, ‘Burglar’ is the coming-of-age lovechild of Whitney’s ‘Forever Turned Around’, and the stylistically-subdued existentialism of Julia Jacklin, or Oregon’s Haley Heynderickx.
“A burglar is coming to take my time away” croons Anouska over swathes of metaphorically candid reminiscence. “You said I was nothing but a dream. But I said you were nothing.”
As for what remains, be it performing to a rammed crowd at Brecon Beacons ‘Green Man’ festival back in August, or playing at the iconic ‘100 Club’ for Fred Perry’s ‘All Our Tomorrow’s Festival’, it’s safe to say that Honeyglaze are well and truly embodying the concept of ‘one’s to watch’.
In their own words: “Hi we are Honeyglaze, and there’s no time to explain.”