The lead singer of Boston-based folk trio Honeysuckle, Holly McGarry, has a voice that’s smoky and bluesy, with a bite. It’s sort of like if Janis Joplin and Amy Winehouse had a baby, who then took singing lessons from Norah Jones—and McGarry puts it to good use in the Honeysuckle’s debut EP, Arrows.
The first track, “Josephine,” starts out with ambient fingerpicking. The flutters build up to introduce McGarry, and Chris Bloniarz soon joins in to entwine his voice around hers. The harmonies are further developed in the next track, “Large Regardless,” which features some surprising chords that give the gentle music an edge. The dark lyrics also shock you into listening a little more closely:
“And now the roof is leaking / The outside becomes the in… and you won’t rest / ‘Til I am in the grave with all my friends”
There aren’t very many flashy parts of the EP, but that isn’t because Honeysuckle isn’t capable—they just know when to hold back. Their dexterity shines through in places such as the opening of “Let the Light in,” which Benjamin Burns opens with a finger-bleeding banjo solo. The unusual cadences serve to modernize an otherwise quintessential folk sound.
McGarry comes back to seduce us with a lilting triple-meter melody in “Something Worth Having,” which evokes a waltz in a moonlight country barn. We’re left in a hazy rock daze with title track “Arrows,” which mixes heavily reverberant vocals and electric guitar.
Arrows features several hallmarks of skillful musicians: clever time changes, complex melodies, tasteful effects, and layering. It’s extremely polished, and not only for a debut EP.
Make sure to catch the release of the EP on Wednesday, April 28 at 8 pm at Out of the Blue Too Art Gallery.
- Great harmonies
- Surprising lyrics
- Creative instrumentation
- Some songs sounded similar