The Honeydogs “Love & Cannibalism”
The Honeydogs return this year, and lead dog Adam Levy (fresh off his brilliant solo LP Naubinway) unwinds a bluesy pop opener “Vermillion Billows (Shouldn’t Take It So Hard)” with a smart lead riff in the chorus and just like that, The Honeydogs are back. “Devices” has the band sounding tighter than ever, with jazz horn and funk guitar accents. Levy makes music here that is both celebratory and soulful.
“Art & Vandalism” is my favorite here, a Honeydog classic about “counting your blessings” and it has a Steely Dan-like confidence alongside its catchy melody. “Wheels” and “Left Alone” are good upbeat rockers, and “Looking Through the Sun” is another great guitar melody, so no filler here either. The Americana themed “Ordinary Legs” and Caribbean themed “Little Sister” close out this fine album, highly recommended and worthy of many repeat listens.
Champagne “Beach Closed”
Champagne is a band from Cádiz, Spain that explodes on the scene with Beach Closed. The loud opener “Tell Me Why” is a piano-guitar melody that is everything we love about power pop, from the catchy chorus to infectious guitar solo midway through. Despite the euro-accented vocals,”Visiting You” is another gem that rings true with deep riffs closer in style to Weezer or The Gigolo Aunts. It does veer into arena rock territory with “Don’t Feed The Animal” and “The Van,” but the energy level is high and songs still engage you.
“It’s Alright” is a campfire beach sing-along with a simple ukulele and guitar melody and “Where’s Barbara Ann?” is a wonderful Beach Boys themed rocker that’s my favorite here. Another terrific ear-worm is “Plastic Feelings,” with a toe tapping guitar melody and “Weller” is a nice shout out to The Jam frontman. It ends with the lovely harmonies of “Hawaii,” especially the dream-like layered ending. Highly Recommended.