Honey Cutt’s album Coasting is an ode to everyday life, with music that is as familiar as it is surprising, as romantic as it is melancholy.  

Released last March at the tail end of a gray East Coast winter, Honey Cutt’s Coasting cracks a window and lets some fresh air into the bedroom rock sound. The Boston trio, known as Baby! before a name switch in 2018, is fronted by guitarist, singer, and Florida native Kaley Honeycutt.  Bassist Ari Blut and drummer Chris Chew complete the group, which is signed to Kanine Records. This latest ten-track record embodies their self-described sound, “dreamy indie rock with surf sensibilities,” with creativity and ease.

Coasting is a soundtrack to the album’s titular feeling: finally reaching the downhill part of your bike ride, when you can let the pedals go and just glide. There’s a gentleness to each guitar riff that grounds the album from track to track and complements Honeycutt’s laid back vocal delivery immaculately. 

The album’s sonic consistency is not to be mistaken for predictability; it’s peppered with little surprises, like the duet in “Hung Up on Me” and the classical inspiration in “Judas Waltz.” The latter track, which follows the progression of a relationship from its rose-colored beginning to its sudden end, shows the group’s willingness to experiment with a variety of musical influences.  Honeycutt sings about the ecstasy of new love over a watery guitar and upbeat percussion, before switching into a slow 3/4 waltz to describe the demise of the relationship.  The band puts a new spin on the traditional sting of romantic betrayal.

As the Beach Boys have clarified, vocals can make or break any surf rock song.  Though the band steers clear of five-part harmonies, they often layer different takes of Honeycutt’s vocals.  This move expands tracks like “Gentleness” and “All I Have” rather than overcrowds them. Honeycutt’s vocals have a sense of intimacy and familiarity to them, and many of the songs on Coasting feel like a friend recounting random parts of her day or hiccups in her relationship.   

The album doesn’t shy away from heavier topics, touching on loneliness and familial strife, but Honey Cutt guides the listener through them with witty lyrics and meandering guitar licks. Coasting skates on the edge of melancholia, gently letting you know it’s present, without dragging you there.  

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