Honeyblood have never suffered fools gladly. On 2014’s self-titled debut, Glasgow duo Stina Tweeddale and Cat Myers laid into scumbag exes and cheating heartbreakers. Follow-up ‘Babes Never Die’ is just as angry and their sometimes gauzy alt-rock is beefed up to ferocious levels.
Where last time round rubbish men were in the firing line, this time it’s haters. ‘Babes Never Die’, a v-flicking ode to not letting the bastards get you down, is as strong and resilient as early single ‘Super Rat’. Instead of name-calling, though, it taunts its target by refusing to crumble. “Thought I’d go up in flames instead of lights / Strike the match that set me alight / You can watch my fire burn bright / Cos babes never die,” frontwoman Tweeddale snarls over a serrated guitar line. It’s about toughness and empowerment – themes that form the backbone of the record.
‘Sea Hearts’ flips the usual narrative of the woman being the one left heartbroken on its head. “We’ll break hearts that get in the way,” she promises before giddily indulging in chants of “Hey hey! It’s just a little heartbreak!” with drummer Cat Myers. The Le Tigre-gone-rock title track has Tweeddale igniting a relationship on her own terms, rather than moping about waiting to be picked, while the shadowy ‘Gangs’ offers a different kind of empowerment. “Don’t let your fears keep you here / They’ll turn into quicksand,” Tweeddale advises with the kind of subtle urgency in her voice that makes you question whether you could be doing better.
Unlike their debut album, not all of the songs on ‘Babes Never Die’ are about the band’s leader. The aforementioned ‘Sea Hearts’ is about a friend of Tweeddale’s, and elsewhere she dabbles in character studies.All of them are people you could do without – ‘Sister Wolf’’s protagonist is painted as a sly creature, ‘Hey Stellar’ focuses on a betraying “bitch” and ‘Justine, Misery Queen’ is – as the song’s title says – a complete sourpuss. If only she had Honeyblood’s tempestuous second album to help her vent her frustrations.