Honeyhander – Woolly Mannerisms (CD)

Honeyhander – Woolly Mannerisms / 2005 S.A.F. / 5 Tracks / http://www.honeyhander.com / http://www.safrecords.com / Reviewed 29 September 2005

The distended vocals of Marilyn Manson hide themselves behind an eighties-influenced, synthesizer-heavy sound for “Wear Our Your Muscles Mary”. The track is a little repetitious, as the disotortion on the vocals renders everything into a mush from no words can escape. This mixture is decidedly low-key, and really smacks more of a band not living up to their talent instead of really being limited by any particular fault that is not their own. There are some interesting arrangements during “Professional Poise”, especially the disco beat that threads its way through the track, but the fact is that everything is so distorted that the aggregation of factors is a sad constant.

“Our Connoisseurs are Feeders” really show a more coherent style by Honeyhander, as the track really drops some of the distortion that was plaguing the act in the past. Their use of repetition during this track is actually a purposeful move, and the inorganic sound of the sequenced drums really adds something to the dark atmosphere created by the shrill guitars. Using a shuffling beat at the onset of “Porcelain Veneers”, the dark tone of the previous track is modified only slightly for this iteration. This small set of tracks (“Feeders” and “Veneers”) really show the band as one that can really succeed even if something major – like the rut the band finds themselves in early on – threatens to derail all plans. By the time that “porcelain Veneers” really gets a full head of steam, Honeyhander shows their audience tat they can actually master the distortion that was such a drag in the earlier part of the disc; instead of just laying on everything, it is just another tool used by the band to succeed.

Starting out the ultimate track with an almost sedate arrangement, the vocal and noise-free “Hiding Small Children In Cabinets” really looks back to “Pretty Hate Machine-era” Nine Inch Nails for primary influences; while the mastering on the track is not perfect (the vocals could be peaked a little higher and the drums pulled out from behind the curtain of fuzz), the simple fact remains that the track has a nice beat and is fun to dance to. Honestly, the best thing about “Woolly Mannerisms” is the fact that the band evolves before everyone’s ears: what started out as a chaotic, messy band has by the end of the disc turned into a viable, no-wave dance-noise-punk act.

Top Track: Hiding Small Children in Cabinets

Rating: 5.6/10

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