The Honey Brothers - Time Flies Like A Peach Review
Posted by C.A. Bell on 04.19.2012
Having Entourage's Adrian Grenier on the drums is enough to get any celebrity addict salivating, but are the Honey Brothers actually any good? Join 411's C.A. Bell to find out if these indie popsters have what it takes to stand on their own.
Release Date: April 17, 2012 Running Time: 47:27 Label: Velour Recordings Genre: Indie Pop Key Tracks:
"Won't Last Long"
Because the Honey Brothers lineup includes Entourage star Adrian Grenier on drums, this band will likely receive a lot of attention built on undue misconceptions. I'll have to admit to having a few myself. After hearing the band's first single, "Green and Gold", I found myself dreading this review a bit. The song is entirely pleasant, but hearing the track had me thinking of a long line of celebrity-included bands that are heavy on pleasantry and light on content. I could just see it; an hour of listening to happy, forgettable, and ultimately tedious quasi-indie music. It just drums up visions of Bruce "Bruno" Willis dancing with a pool cue or Jared Leto spending more time shopping for eye shadow than practicing with his band. Ugh, that's enough of that. Luckily my prejudice against the Honey Brothers was dead wrong. I love it when I'm wrong like that. As a matter of fact, I wish I was this kind of wrong on every record I hear for the rest of the year.
The current lineup of the Honey Brothers dates back to 2001. The group was initially a five piece folk act (an influence that is all but invisible on Time Flies Like A Peach).† On this new record, the boys are delving into a lot of different grounds. There is Jellyfish-esque power pop ("Empathy Gap"), Belle & Sebastian jolly indie time ("Green and Gold"), Paul Simon/Vampire Weekend Afro-pop ("She's Got No Love"), Elvis Costello balladry ("Passing Knowledge) and even a little Paul McCartney sweetness ("She Never Leaves"). Of course, all of those are tied together by a loyal army of good vibes. The band's folk beginnings do display themselves (however slightly) on the Appalachian disco track "Anna". The groove on there is wholly undeniable, making it my favorite song of the album. The different genre travels are key to keeping the sound here interesting. The number one fear I had about this record was that the simple arrangement and laid back vocal style of Andrew Vladeck would become downright painful after hearing them together for any more thant twenty minutes. While the arrangements and Vladeck do stay pretty calm throughout the record, the band finds a way to make the songs differ enough from each other to maintain your attention. Add to that a downright endearing group of lyrics and you have yourself the kind of record that gets put on repeat.
I think it is probably likely that the group will draw more than a few derisive comparisons to Vampire Weekend. For my part, I think the Honey Brothers are definitely more influenced by the same great Paul Simon records that Vampire Weekend listen to, but they tend to stay a bit more faithful to the material. There is less cuteness; fewer purposeful/transparent attempts at being clever. I appreciate and prefer the material here for that very reason. It doesn't seem like the Honey Brothers are attempting to be precious or ironic. They seem earnest. I find that refreshing and all-too-rare in the modern indie landscape, particularly amongst more pop-influenced acts. I wish the band would play a bit more with their rootsy leanings, like on the aforementioned "Anna" and "Moonlight". Then again, I think everything should have more banjo. Altogether, there is enough on Time Flies Like A Peach to have me not just going back for more, but looking forward to it too. The record doesn't overstay its welcome and actually makes you feel a little better about the world when all is said and done. That might be the point.
The 411: New York City's Honey Brothers create fun, infectious indie pop and keep it from getting boring. This being the only the group's second official LP belies their years together and relative musical abilities. I recommend Time Flies Like A Peach for any fan of interesting pop music. There is plenty of good times to be had here.