Way back in the olden days, specifically around 1998, Honey Rider were undoubtedly one of the greatest pop bands in the world. It is to everyone’s eternal disgrace that only I had spotted this and duly, after three consistently magnificent albums, they, or more accurately, Gary Strickland, called it a day. Now settled back away from the draughty Britpop bedsits and in the more suitably sunny Florida, Gary returns, now as bassist and backing-vocalist in Seafang.
The general cheeriness remains: cheery in the Shangri-Las sense – it may be bright and glossy but there’s an underlying menace – though the dynamics have inevitably changed with a more stable and recognisable band structure with Heidi on vocals, Susan on guitar and Paul on drums. All decidedly Sixties band names, bravo! Although the Beach Boys endless summer core still shines out, there is a more sloping shoe-gaze angle employed with breathy, delayed echo and guitars seemingly played with chainmail gloves. Not sure how many people were clamouring for a shoe gaze revival but the number of bands returning from many winter’s hibernation suggests something’s in the air.
There’s more than a little Lush and Primitives splashed around, as well as the noise and demeanour of Jesus and Mary Chain, though the real joy of the single is the lack of an attempt to reinvent the wheel. There’s an infectious, easy-going familiarity to all three songs, B-side Summertime being as catchy if less earwormy; CD extra Be the One being very much the runt of the litter and, alas, the song you go to the bar to at a gig. It’s not a life-changing single but it’s refreshingly honest and extremely confident in the way it willingly celebrates the influences which helped birth it. The skill of knocking out a catchy tune is not to be easily dismissed.