IF CRADLE OF FILTH LOOKED half as evil as Billie does on the cover of this record, then you might well fall to your knees and proclaim the days of our Lord Beelzebub are close at hand. A mascara’d velociraptor, she transfixes you with reptile eye and sharky pout, her double doubtlessly lurking behind preparing to bite your arms off.
All credit to the image-makers, it’s a massively appropriate look – ‘Honey To The B’ is little more than carnivorous marketing strategy, lacking enough warm blood even to blush with shame at its savage mauling of pop music.
If the petulant squawk of ‘Because We Want To’ made you favour a shoot-on-sight curfew for the under-18s, Billie’s debut album won’t calm your reactionary fervour. Thinner than a starlet’s slip, it’s a catalogue of teengirl intrigue that somehow fails to rival [I]Hammer Of The Gods[/I] for life experience. Yet what this record desperately craves is All Saints’ effortless credibility – some r’n’b sass to make out that Billie’s relationship with the street goes beyond impromptu games of rounders with the kids next door. This means a syrupy mass of ‘honeys’ and ‘sugars’ that sound more like a Delia Smith puddings masterclass than sex-kitten attitude, a title track that comes on like a knock-off ‘Never Ever’ surreptitiously purchased by the producers from an Oxford Street souvenir stall, and ‘Love Groove’, which has Billie mewling seductively while a rapper suggests – possibly illegally – things he could do for her.
Billie has no idea where it’s at. In fact, it’s doubtful she even knows what it is. Never mind. The little girls might not have a clue, but the old men will understand.