On the final leg of the No Drama tour, Stina Tweeddale and her touring ‘drama queens’ served up one hell of a sonic banquet for the modest crowd in Kendal. Now the solo project of Edinburgh native Tweeddale, Honeyblood dished up her usual – A sweet yet savage serving of glitter-coated hooks and thunderous guitar riffs. But it might be time Tweeddale mixed up the recipe. Just a little.
Honeyblood started life as a duo releasing lo-fi breakup anthems featuring the raw energy of punk and the warm vocals of Tweeddale. Nearly a decade on and not much has changed. Honeyblood has seen two drummers come and go but her sound both recorded and live with the talents of Deborah Knox-Hewston (drums) and Anna Donigan (bass) remains pretty much untouched.
Pouncing on to stage, Tweeddale in a Leopard print dress went straight for the jugular. The boisterous ‘Sea Hearts’ from second album Babes Never Die blasted out of the speakers. A no-nonsense female-empowering anthem with a cracking chorus that encapsulates just why Honeyblood initially gained hype and continue to be enjoyed.
The Malt Room at The Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal does not offer up the best in sound quality and there was a little faffing with the mic level between tracks. But Honeyblood’s wild-natured sound seemed fitting for the basement like venue. Shade was thrown between the band members but it seemed in good spirit and despite not being a touring partnership for long, this live set up is a comfortable one which effortlessly flaunts fearsome female talent.
New tracks intertwine smoothly with ones from the self-titled debut. This is largely due to the similarities in the tracks, the deliciously angst-filled ‘Superrat’ from the debut knitted neatly with ‘Gibberish’ for example because of the similar rage-fuelled chorus and song structure.
Released last month In Plain Sight seems to suggest a plateau for Tweeddale’s musical growth with the exception of tracks such as the slow-tempo ‘Harmless’ and the synth-led ‘You’re a Trick’. It’s a high bar set by all means, but even the contradictory nature of the album cover (featuring Tweeddale out of plain sight, matching a floral backdrop) hint that perhaps the music has fallen into a indistinguishable pattern.
This been said, Tweeddale’s solo encore in Kendal showed just how Honeyblood can break down her own boundary. Stripped of her touring members, the songstress slowed it all down for two final tracks. A stripped-down version of ‘Bud’ from the debut, made for a light, palatable finale to a hefty meal full of riot and rebellion.
A more honeyed approach to songs could be a promising direction should Tweeddale allow herself to step away from all the bad blood.