A little about Honey Beard:
I think I've said it before, but damn it feels great to be a Toronto synthwave gangster. I'm lucky to share the same city as some of the best synthwave artists around. Honey Beard is part of this collective. Since 2012, Tom and Gary
have been creating vocal synthwave tinged with darker vocals and bright notes with thumping beats. In 2015, they released their first EP entitled "Thousand Million Things", followed in 2017 by their debut album "Dreamless Sleep". They've also contributed tunes to various synthwave compilations targeting worthwhile charities, such as the "RetroReverbRhythms Vol 1" for cancer research and support, and the "Completely Mental Volume 1" for mental health research and support.
Let's check out the EP "Whispers of Light":
"Whispers of Light" released on November 8th, 2019. It features 5 songs containing very personal thoughts and emotions blanketed over hopeful melodies and thrilling beats. This combination reaches into your chest to squeeze your heart (to the beat of course).
It's time to hold hands and explore the emotional side of synthwave:
"Like a Fire" - First released on the "RetroReverbRhythms Vol 1" compilation album, it was then given a beautiful video to accompany the haunting melody. Beautiful sparkling notes kick off this track, leading into a somewhat urgent and yearning rhythm. I love the phrasing in this song. The break two thirds in slowly builds to an amazing drop, and Gary's soft voice before and after pairs so well with the melodies. This reminds me so much of great '90s and '00s trance, and I'd be very surprised if there weren't any remixes on the way.
“This is Forever” - The band uses the term "darkpop" to describe their music, and the vocals in this tune lend credence to that. Slightly darker and brooding, it's intertwined with a great beat. In the second half of the song, bright notes enter, lifting you on some sort of euphoric elevator while staying melancholic and heartfelt. I think this is my favourite entry on the EP.
“Cross My Heart” - This song is damn cool. The synth melody looping with a driving beat is then taken to another level with vocals that jump to and fro across the octaves with echoes, underscored with chords that once again seem to evoke new wave influences. My second favourite track on the album.
“Under the Ferris Wheel” - With vocals that are slightly raspier and notes reminiscent of '80s new wave, Under The Ferris Wheel features lyrics that create visions of days gone by, youth a distant memory, missed opportunities. Honey Beard's signature high synth notes contrast beautifully with the darker lyrics and pulsing rhythm.
“Full of Stars” - The beat and melodies in this last song are truly amazing. While the music is euphoric, Honey Beard's signature darkpop vocals layer over it so well. The lyrics bring to mind Nik Kershaw's "Wouldn't it be good", but with faster beats, elevated chords, and a softer voice.
I've been wracking my brain trying to identify what music or artists this EP reminds me of. It's there, on the tip of my mind, but frustratingly elusive. It's as if you took some '80s new wave, mashed it with the best '90s trance, and threw in indie vocals. This is, in my opinion, what synthwave is all about. Draw from your influences, and then create something new, unique, and fresh. Honey Beard has done it, and done it well. Featuring amazing production quality, the tracks (all of them) are soulful and meaningful, and there are hooks and melodies throughout that can make you feel melancholic and euphoric at the same time. Honey Beard's latest work will garner high praise from all who listen to it.
Follow and support Honey Beard at the links below: