Review: Honesty – Where R U EP

Artwork for Honesty's Where R U EP

Honesty’s bags are packed.

For the cynics keen on applying lazy stereotypes, Eagulls were an easy enough soak.

From Leeds, the quintet played angst ridden post punk with more in its raking guitars and barked vocals than a hint of goth, that being the other supposed sole musical byproduct of a place that fought tooth and nail to make itself hard to get along with.

Bands like Eagulls are nearly always more critically fawned over than commercially successful, and after the releasee of their second album Ullages in 2016 to good reviews but subsistence income, the prophecy became self-fulfilling. Lead singer George Mitchell left, became an artist and, a few years later, formed Honesty.

When not painting Alsatians with a cigarette jauntily hanging out of their mouth, Mitchell and his collaborators Matt Peel, Josh Lewis and Imi Holmes make sounds that will irk those who like to write off entire places as culturally imprisoned by their past. By that token the quartet, whom he sees as, ‘a genre bending collaborative project’, occupy spaces on this five-track debut EP such as lo-fi house, garage and shoegaze, all of which are essentially rootless by nature, belonging to nowhere but wherever you are.

Intentional or not, the tracks on Where R U form a series of moving pictures – darkened clubs, cold dawns, nano joys – that opener Nightworld prowls, reverent sounding beats and despair in the same room, the stasis captured as: ‘We beg for change/But all we get is pennies/Each Day.’

The cinematic, Moog/Mood-heavier Mr. Speaker is lyrically a stream of consciousness that roams across clouds of ambience, whilst Tune In Tune Out, described in mode by the band as, ‘losing engagement with society, an internal monologue tries best to bring itself back to normality’, is a slow-motion audioscape that decays before our very ears.

There are aural comparisons here to the likes of Actress and Leon Vynehall, but the most promise comes via the closer Seams which, irony to one side, mines a thudding post-punk groove and, with Holmes on vocals frames, a love song of sorts that, as all loves do, eventually gutters out like a candle.

Not being from anywhere can feel strange, but for Honesty it’s less complicated. Where R U has them moving further away from that place called home, a confident self-portrait that sometimes offers glimpses of what lies beyond their immediate horizon.

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