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Making heartbreak sound fun. That’s how I would describe the debut album Honeymoon from pop-rock powerhouse Beach Bunny. Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, Lily Trifilo and her band have managed to strike a beautiful balance between pretty, catchy melodies and the bite not too unfamiliar to your favourite garage or grunge band.
With 25 minutes of solid material, the album is no filler and all material, starting with the twinkly Promises. Lily’s voice rides gently through the quiet intro as her and Matt Henkels play gentle riffs, with Anthony Vaccaro providing a solid bassline, before crescendoing into a catchy chorus, something that this album has more than spare. From this song alone, one thing is clear: the production on this album is superb. Joe Reinhart (Algernon Cadwallader) manages to keep the sound incredibly crisp without losing the “oomph” that most indie and pop-rock albums nowadays lack, making the project a blast to go through.
The vocals are the focal point of all the songs, but they don’t drown out the glistening guitar tones and crisp drum rhythms, and no song demonstrates this better than the bustling Cuffing Season. Being the loudest song on the record, Lily vocalises her frustration with the need to settle down with that special someone through a head-bobbing melody alongside a chord progression that wouldn’t be misplaced in a pop-punk album.
The themes of anxiety and insecurity carry on running throughout the album, with Rearview reinforcing the feelings of not knowing whether you’re good enough. The track also highlights the band’s ability to keep things fresh and interesting, with it starting as one of the quieter, slower songs, until it bubbles into an outgoing heartfelt outro. This again showcases the knack that the band has for writing fun, cheery riffs and vocal melodies while tackling emotions and topics which at times are completely at odds with the mood of the instrumentation; the loud proclamation of “I’m sorry, I’m trying, I hate it when you see me crying” has me dancing along moments away from shedding tears every time I go back to it, solidifying this song as one of my favourites in their discography. They again slow it down on the ballad Racetrack, where Lily laments over always winding up in second place over the beautiful chime of the piano haunting the track.
The albums aren’t all gloom and doom, as the last two songs, both previously released as singles, bring up the mood starting with the ode to young love that is Dream Boy. This time opting for a more classic love song, Beach Bunny add their ever so familiar summer feel to the mix; laying on a beach under the beating sun, watching surfers ride the shimmering teal waves as the sounds of the sea echoes through the air is one of many images of melancholic bliss that the band have painted before on their previous projects, and do so on songs like this. And to wrap things up, the 80s inspired vocals in the pop-rock anthem Cloud 9 brings the mood up as the highest point in the album. “But when he loves me, I feel like I’m floating” highlights the high that young love can bring, as the upbeat anthem closes this amazing debut effort.
Honeymoon is an album of many feelings: anxiety, contentment, jealousy and bliss are only some of the many emotions tackled by Lily and her crew, mirroring the cacophony of feelings that being in love and falling out of it brings to the average young person. Whether you want an album to sob or jam to, this record has something for everyone, while showcasing the talent that this young group have. For a debut, this is one of the most solid attempts at penning down raw emotion. Here goes to heartbreak.