Swedish indie-rock duo Pale Honey have released Devotion, the follow up to their 2015 self-titled debut album. For the most part, they’ve stayed true to their minimalist rock style, but have branched out in terms of sounds and structure of their songs. Personal and emotionally raw, Devotion has been crafted over two years, and is a collection of places, people and relationships.
Introducing the album is ‘Replace Me’, a song featuring gentle vocals and poppy guitar, with subtle synths accentuating the lyrics. The sound builds, with clever reverb and a guitar riff that will be stuck in your head for days. The lyrics are minimal but meaningful, showing maturity that perhaps wasn’t there with album one.
‘Get These Things Out of My Head’ is the most personal track on the album, the lyrics being about frontwoman Tuva Lodmark‘s struggle with OCD. The futuristic guitar and echoing vocals slightly mask the heavy meaning of the lyrics, but the emotion is there; this song is raw and powerful. While Pale Honey had reservations about recording and releasing this track, it carries an important message – that it is acceptable to talk about mental health openly, and even more so, that it should be encouraged.
‘The Heaviest of Storms’ is gentle and delicate, with tentative synths and strings swelling and growing, creating an eerie atmosphere and a beautifully crafted track. In stark contrast to this, the guitar-oriented ‘Real Thing’ is one of the more diverse songs on the album – the duo have moved away from the big synth swells and hooks, and have instead used guitars and punchy drums to create most of the track. It sounds big and is attention-grabbing, it certainly shows the song writing ability of the two.
Devotion just goes to show how far being simplistic can take you – each and every track has been thoughtfully written and created, no sound or lyric has been recorded just because. The song writing is masterful, and it’s clear to hear that Pale Honey have branched out in their way of creating music and representing themselves through sound. This album shows the diverse skills and experiences that the girls have acquired over the past two years of writing, and as all albums should, it highlights the progress and growth of both individual people, and musical ability.