There’s nothing quite like a song that captivates you immediately. New music is more available than ever before, and the artists that make it are working in increasingly creative ways to get it to your eyes and ears every day. So, perhaps more than ever, a song that engages you now really has something special – maybe not just the music itself, but the visuals it’s presented with, and the message it sends.
Flashback to a few months ago. I’m scrolling through TikTok, and I see a video that’s a throwback to the pre-2000s sitcoms and aesthetic I grew up on. Coupled with it is an instrumental that couples contemporary pop with mid-aughts emo and a hooky melody that use television references to fully hook me. I was drawn in by an understated verse with a surprisingly active bass line, and then a chorus that brought my back to the glory emo days of my high school experience. The song? “Rerun”. The artist? Today’s Weekly Featured Artist: Honey Revenge.
Since hearing “Rerun”, it has gained multiple ‘reruns’ from me, likely being my most streamed song of the past few months. As such, it was only natural to reach out to the LA-based duo to highlight their energetic and vibrant yet thoughtful approach to pop and rock music. Devin Papadol, the group’s vocalist, kindly provided some more insight into the group, from its origins to its unique name:
‘Donovan had just graduated high school and was about to move to LA from Georgia. Lockdown was still in full swing, but they saw a video of my old band playing a show online and reached out to ask about the local scene. One thing led to another, and they auditioned for that band and joined. Then that band broke up but we kept making music together. We spent a long time thinking of a name that would successfully describe both the pop and rock sides of our sound. Honey Revenge was the best fit and we love it!’
This dichotomous sound is effectively represented in the band’s musical and visual elements, especially highlighted in their recent video game-inspired lyric video for “Airhead”. The track’s triplet riffage, funky chord stabs, and 4-on-the-floor beat underpin gang vocals and charmingly self-deprecating lyrics that I’m sure will resonate with many listeners.
Honey Revenge only have six songs to their name so far, but there’s not one I don’t like. On a song like “Are You Impressed?”, the use pop production tricks and tasteful synths add dynamics and danceability to their tight pop punk structures and angsty lyrics. Their first release, “Miss Me”, flips a popular colloquial phrase to confront unreliability in relationships. Elsewhere, “Distracted” slows things down a bit with a syncopated, clean guitar verse before exploding into to an absolutely anthemic chorus that makes me think a bit of early Avril Lavigne.
Considering the consistent colour schemes and retro elements that form the Honey Revenge‘s visual aesthetic, I initially assumed that this identity was strategically constructed. Of course, it arrived much more naturally, as Devin explains:
‘We both have a love for everything pink and purple. I had hot pink and purple bedroom walls growing up and Donovan only plays pink guitars. We want our personalities to come across in our music and visuals and we are both bubbly and vibrant so it kind of comes naturally! I love photography and graphic design so I try to pick out my favorite artists to work with us on album artwork, merchandise, etc.’
The group’s music similarly originates from a natural place, initially forming around Papadol’s lyrics and melodies, and now also building upon guitarist Donovan Lloyed’s instrumental compositions. But how did “Rerun”, the song that drew me to the band, come together?
‘I wrote the lyrics when we were still in pretty strict lock down. I was writing music, and making content, and working my ass off at my day job but the future was still uncertain. Nobody was sure when live music would return and I was feeling very hopeless. It seemed like I was living the same bad day over and over with very little to keep me going. It’s luckily turned around since then.’
The frustration of that time in our collective history pours out of the song with a punkish ferocity tempered by pop hooks and electronic elements, yet even then, it feels fun or optimistic. Papadol’s driving vocals perfectly lead the song over Lloyed’s dynamic and understated guitar playing and thoughtfully interwoven bass performance.
Honey Revenge is finally realizing those dreams of live music that inspired “Rerun”. They’ve just begun a tour with The Home Team and Broadside, coinciding with the announcement that their debut record, Retrovision, will arrive June 23 on Thriller Records. The record’s title showcases the band’s appreciation for the past, but they’re clearly looking forward with plans to tour behind the album for the foreseeable. I, for one, hope they make it up to Western Canada.