Pale Honey, a Gothenburg based guitar/drums two piece, emerged onto the scene in 2015 when they released their self-titled debut album, which was featured on BBC 6 Music and reviewed in the Sunday Times & NME. Erini Gialou reviewed that eponymous album for us and was impressed with the beauty of the lyrics and music and the appealing vocals.
By contrast, their second full length offering Devotion is a much more challenging piece of work. It operates on a number of levels. Taken in isolation, the melodies, riffs and rhythms are excellent, they stick in the memory and oscillate between triumphant and discordant, the sombre and the energetic. The Lyrics are a masterpiece, they provide a real insight into the subconscious of someone in an angst ridden relationship, where paranoia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and possibly paranoia strike randomly to perpetuate the cycle of misery.
The combination is exquisite, it seems to me to represent the jarring, grinding and conflicting emotions of falling in and out of love and trying to manage that whilst dealing with the emotional baggage we each carry around.
"Replace Me", a bitter plea from the heart of a lover who is trapped in a relationship knowing that it is broken but lacking the strength to break free herself. The guitar playing on the track is raw and superbly complements the pain of the cry in the lyrics. "Real Thing" is full of raw energy, passion and innuendo. It charts the inner thoughts of a lover in the midst of a seduction, the guitar feels as though it is tearing the clothes off your back as you listen. "777 (Devotion Pt 2)" put simply, basks beautifully and dreamily in the afterglow and subsequent comedown from the basic instincts experienced in "Real Thing".
To some degree this is an autobiographical album. Tuva (the singer/guitarist) has laid bare her own struggles with OCD. It is a privilege to listen to and begin to understand some of the thoughts she struggles with. The entire Album has been intentionally curated by Tuva and Nelly (drummer) to deal with experiences of relationships between lovers and with oneself. It is, as a result a rather dark and challenging listen.
Devotion is beautiful and ugly, excellent but difficult. It is really easy to appreciate it and see its value as a work of art, but it is really difficult to enjoy. You should listen to it because, as bleak as it may be in parts, it is above all, a profound piece of work.
Review by Pete Yeomans