Bud, the debut single from Glaswegian duo Honeyblood, aka Stina Tweeddale and Shona McVicar, achieves special merit points, not just for its irresistibly perky two-minute popsmarts but for productively moving the post-White Stripes formula on in a way that many have tried and many more have failed to do. The A-side in particular perfectly distills the pair’s strengths; McVicar’s primal, heartbeat drums never fail the John Bonham test-your-strength meter but sidestep it completely, preferring instead to take Moe Tucker’s laidback approach, coolly cuffing and nudging the song along. While Tweeddale’s dolorous, diction-rich voice brings the sexy librarian charms of Delgados’ Emma Pollock to the teen-dream aesthetic beloved of current hipsters like Beach House or Haim, but without having to launch its own lifestyle range in Urban Outfitters and alienate the non-cute teenage fan demographic in the process.
Which isn’t to say Honeyblood aren’t adorable – they rock doll cheeks and a dungaree as well as primetime Clare Grogan – but musically and emotionally you suspect they’d choose bitter over sweet in life. To wit, a poisoned earth metaphor for the frustrations of young love runs through Bud. “Problems seem to stem from the very seeds I plant / I try to stop / I can’t / It’s not in my nature,” Stina avows, before chucking in a masochistic lyrical twist worthy of Kristin Hersh to send the Zooey Deschanel fans fleeing for the comfort of a baby owl pics blog: “Nip it in the bud / They don’t make it hurt it enough / Dead in his tracks / When I finally think I’m never going back / They begin to flower”.
Here’s Rory Atwell’s (Palma Violets, Veronica Falls) pert single mix of the song, available as a limited 7" (Bud b/w Kissing On You) on FatCat.
And here they are revealing the song’s mordant roots live last year: