At first glance, Honeyblood seems tailor-made to embody as many indie rock trends from the late 2000s and early 2010s as possible: they're an all-female guitar and drums duo playing noisy pop heavily indebted to the '90s, right down to their compound word band name. Yet Honeyblood's moniker also reflects the fascinating duality of Stina Tweeddale and Shona McVicar's self-titled debut album, on which they deliver equal amounts of sugar and grit -- as well as a surprising amount of nuance -- with their guitars, vocals, and drums. Tweeddale's voice is so ringingly clear that it's a pleasure to hear, whether she's singing sullen surfer-girl pop à la Best Coast on "(I'd Rather Be) Anywhere But Here" or about bruises that look like roses on the closing track, "Braid Burn Valley." Sometimes they're more sophisticated, as on the delicate, almost jazzy drum work that graces "Fall Forever"'s breakdowns; sometimes they're more rambunctious, as on the snarling "Super Rat" or the irresistible "Fortune Cookie." However, the duo's most knowing songs may be the most winning. Honeyblood's debut single, "Bud," is still a standout, with Tweeddale giving Jenny Lewis a run for her money in the wryly gorgeous and heartbroken sweepstakes as she sings lyrics like "Tender bloom of doom/Like a nursemaid to a battle wound." "Choker" presents the duo's darker side, evoking University-era Throwing Muses with its stabbing riffs and deceptively catchy angst, while "No Spare Key" captures the vulnerability of being so in love that there are no other options. While there's a small but significant gap between Honeyblood's outstanding songs and the rest of the album, it's still a debut full of moments of depth and moments of instant gratification -- as well as lots of potential.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares