On Honeyblood’s third album, In Plain Sight, the consistent mastermind behind the music, Stina Tweeddale, finally takes full credit as Honeyblood and deftly steers the album with her assured performance and point-of-view. In Plain Sight, at a lean 36 minutes is an energetic and generally enervating indie pop-rock that traffics in lots of personality and heavy, fuzzy guitar.
The first few tracks here show Honeyblood and Tweeddale’s capacity for crafting easy hooks. “She’s a Nightmare” eases you into the rock sound of the album and highlights the warm, smoky vocals of Tweeddale. “The Third Degree” and “A Kiss From the Devil” both introduce some of that aforementioned rock fuzz and scuzz, with their respective refrains of “no no drama drama baby” and “kiss me quickly” promptly taking root in your ears. The heavier rock elements build into “Gibberish,” which utilizes this sound well to convey Tweeddale’s frustrated, angry-adrenalized performance with the message that “when you’re talking shit, [it] sounds like gibberish.” These first four tracks are good and effectively compelling introductions to an album, although with their hook-heaviness and lean towards the scuzz-rock of Honeyblood’s palette, they feel less dynamic than one would hope when up against each other. When comparing the first few songs to the latter half of the album, they begin to feel even less enthralling.
“The Tarantella” instantly downshifts the energy after “Gibberish,” down towards something slow and creeping, with a minor explosion in the chorus that stops just before you expect it to, delivering a great sense of halting satisfaction – which of course results in greater satisfaction with the rest of the song. The mood of the song is also built by some of the more evocative lyrics of the album, with a refrain of “I’ll be sitting on the deadly nightshade, that color suits my pale, pale skin.” “Take the Wheel” follows “Tarantella” with a similar groove at the start, and acts as a nice transition to “Touch,” which builds on the danceable groove established in “Wheel.” “Touch” is especially rich in imagery and mood, built with Tweeddale’s character singing about a bad relationship she cannot resist, who asks in a sly voice “does she know that you’re here tonight [and] does she know what you’re really like?” “Glimmer,” about an enigmatic and magically mysterious woman is equally as fun and expansive as the woman Tweeddale sings about.
In the same way in which the album starts with enough of an energy ramp-up to help you keep pace for the rest of the experience, the end winds down smoothly. “Twisting the Aces” begins the slow-down, already remarkably calmer than the earlier tracks, and is followed by the excellent “Harmless,” which abandons the guitars altogether to highlight Tweeddale’s delicate control of her strong vocals over the evocative everyday imagery crafted in the lyrics “I’m faithfully alone again” and “someday I’ll get to be disgustingly happy.”
In Plain Sight as a whole travels up into some interesting, intriguing moments of rhythm, lyrics, and delivery but then also dips into a few lulls of repetition in sound and energy. When the album works best, with Tweeddale’s dynamic voice at the forefront—as on “The Tarantella” and “Harmless”—it’s a compelling listen. An entire listen might blend a few tracks, but a few select standalone numbers will give you the goods all on their own.