If you’re looking for a straightforward, sterile, bubble-gum pop album masquerading as indie, you’ve come to the wrong place. It doesn’t take a genius to hear the depth in Wild Honey’s signature sound. While the Australian local-music scene has offered up some convincingly retro, yet nevertheless diluted, attempts at replicating bygone eras in pop history, this band have risen above the stale mimicry of their peers. In Your Head is a refreshingly genuine fusion of 1960’s surf- and folk-rock genres, with moody, synth-driven, 1970’s space-rock swirls that would make Jeff Lynne proud.
The album’s opener, ‘Break Away’, is a driving call-to-arms – where distorted guitar solos and a driving bass line meet soothing, beautifully harmonised vocal melodies. ‘Messed Up’ follows on, fusing undeniable country-twang with soaring space-rock synths. These two tracks alone offer a taste of the fluid, genre-bending wave of the laid-back, sun-drenched indie-rock that constitutes the rest of the album. If by track three you’re beginning to tire of the unrelenting, creamy synth swells and multilayered vocals, ‘Guardian’ (track four) is a sparser, brilliantly structured campfire-worthy track. While Wild Honey’s rhythm section triumphs as a constant, driving unit, this track demonstrates the power of the bass guitar alone as a subtle, yet unifying layer.
In Your Head is an album that celebrates the band’s skillful fusion of classic-rock genres, in a way that makes them almost impossible to label accurately. However, some would argue that they often dwell too heavily on replicating and reinventing their influences, without integrating their own unique, nuanced sound. The result of this is occasional patches of homogeneity – an unfortunate let-down in such a remarkably creative album. This is, however, relieved in later tracks, such as the album closers ‘What You Get’, and ‘Supermarket’, that re-establish the band’s sparkling, indie-rock edge. Overall, it is a wonderfully nostalgic throwback to an era where music demonstrated actual complexity. Wild Honey should be praised for their unique interpolation of classic space- and surf-rock genres with a more modern sound, even if that fusion requires greater development at times.
Wild Honey’s album, In Your Head, is out now.
By Gabriel Jammy