Swedish rock duo Pale Honey is making waves with their minimalistic rock sound. Their self-titled debut album is a great collection of inventive tracks the keep it simple, rough and fresh. The best songs on this album play with a guitar riff and coat the riff with rhythmic exploration and uncomplicated lyrics. This ultimately makes for quite a bare sound that emulates 90’s rock paired with Lorde-esque indie vocals.
The introductory song Over Your Head pairs a soft guitar riff with an easy-going drum rhythm. Singer Tuva Lodmark’s echoic vocals glitter the chorus and fill the empty sound along with some synth fuzz. The second track Fish showcases a funk feel that climaxes in the chorus. Pale Honey is showcases their talent in contrast as their empty verses are playfully shocked by a full-sounding chorus. The standout track Youth is a real combination of the strengths of Over Your Head and Fish with a great riff that has a call and response relationship with Lodmark’s vocals. This track is a catchy standout that showcases all the strengths of the band – vocally, rhythmically and thematically.
Other tracks like Lonesome play with different percussive rhythms and melodic structures. This track houses a lot of synth that fades in and out in uncanny ways. Desert slows down the pace with a softer sound that is shaped by colourful guitar accompaniments and 09 0100 is another slower track that really peaks in the choruses. While the lyrics within this track are simple they are also incredibly evocative because they come across as intimate and personal.
However, Bandolier ceases to explore a memorable sound in comparison to all the other strong tracks. It falls in terms of melodic range and exploration. Tease feels very Nirvana and Lodmark’s vocals are suggestive and raw. The final track Sleep is a great change as it really slows down tempo and explores a rather dissonant and soothing soundscape.
Overall, Pale Honey’s debut self-titled album is a great first look into how the duo defines themselves musically. We see a successful minimalistic music style that doesn’t feel radically empty and even cleverly juxtaposes the lack of instruments with strong filling guitar riffs. The duo is great at transforming their music around these catchy guitar riffs with rising vocals and rhythmic prowess. With such a diverse debut, Pale Honey is an exciting addition to the rock scene and I can’t wait to hear more.