If you’re a regular follower of Bucketlist Music Reviews and our weekly live Instagram debates, then you Know that fellow contributor Justin Bruce and I have been through a few hard-fought battles recently, all of which Mr. Bruce has declared himself the winner. I can’t really argue with that confidence. Plus he’s a snappy dresser and plays in a rad punk band called Swayze. Why am I feeling so chipper you ask? Despite Mr. Bruce being the Joker to my Batman? Wait…Bruce does that make me the Joker? Damn! I digress, maybe the reason I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy despite the losses is the soft, soothing, heartfelt indie duo of Kelsea Burch and Matt Shea The Honeycreepers and their latest EP Harborless (released July 20th, 2020) I’m vibing off this EP and I’m going to tell you why. But first Justin, tell us how you feel!
I don’t know how to follow that, so let’s tackle it one by one: a) only telemarketers call me Mr. Bruce, b) the gods declared me the winner of those debates, c) I think I’d be the Riddler. Green’s a pretty good colour on me.
ANYWHO, Harborless. I’ve got an inkling that I’m not going to be vibing as hard as Lee on this one, but I think this is a solid release. Right off the hop, Burch and Shea’s vocals work great together and their Harmonies are truly the highlight of this release. I wouldn’t say that Shea is slacking on the musical front, but the understated guitar work and minimalist song structure throughout these five tunes didn’t do much to enhance things.
“Little Fears” kicks things off. Well, it lightly presses things with its foot. This is one of the folksier tunes on Harborless, with some countrified instrumentation throughout. The soft claps throughout the chorus and twangy guitars add a lot without trying too hard. Another high point for me was The Honeycreepers’ closing tune “Wild Lands.” This moody end to the EP is the most understated, but, in my mind, most
captivating offering from the duo. The song is melodic yet somber and brings the EP to a close without overstaying its welcome.
Speaking of songs overstaying their welcome (dope segue, dude), my main gripe with Harborless has to do with some of its longer songs. The Honeycreepers are very talented musicians bogged down by a few uninteresting songs. Burch’s vocal range and Shea’s musicianship feel squandered on repetitive tunes like “California Sun.” This mid-EP song has a very cool, enthralling chorus the first time around but fails to build into much more than a typical coffee shop indie tune. The Honeycreepers flirt with different instrumentation and production tricks on Harborless, I’d like to hear what they do with that sense of curiosity in the future.
What I’d like to hear even more is sweet baby Lee’s opinion on this thing. How’d you like Harborless?
Thanks, Mr. Bruce. Before I get started I’d just like to ask you your social insurance number please? Whoops sorry wrong pitch, I’m here to pitch Harborless, excellent EP that it is through and through.
I’d also like to start with the track “Little Fears” as it’s the perfect capture of what The Honeycreepers do best. The vocals of Burch and Shea take full prominence as they rightly should; when you can harmonize like that, you’re driving this train. Their vocal interplay reminds me a lot of the band Of Monsters and Men, though they never go as grandiose with their instrumentation as Justin suggested earlier they should. It certainly would present them with more creative brushstrokes, however, I can honestly see the Honeycreepers hitting more successfully with the “coffee shop,” trimmed down aesthetic. This leaves all the room for harmonization and lyrical craftwork, both of which are top strengths for the Honeycreepers. “California Sun” has a definite tip of the cap to the 60’s folk scene, which has been showing its roots in so much of today’s indie music. Burch sings of that eternal picturesque, awe-inspiring state and yes…it has been done thousands of times, but this little hippie boy never grows tired of it. Tell me more about this California Honeycreepers!
The Honeycreepers don’t veer too far of course on the latter half of the EP, sticking to that throwback folk/indie while maybe flirting slightly with country, but never taking the plunge. Shea’s acoustic melodies are consistently warm and soothing, and with Burch on the bass, the chords synch just as beautifully as the harmonies! I absolutely love the less is more approach for this band, falling into favour with acts like Phoebe Bridgers, Sufjan Stevens, Better Oblivion Community Center, the time very much could be now for the Honeycreepers.
Written by Justin Bruce & Lee Ferguson
*Edited by Dominic Abate