London by-way-of Cape Town trio HONEYMOAN take us track-by-track through their seductive debut album ‘Sorry Like You Mean It,’ a sweaty, sexy fever dream that melts alt-pop and indie rock into one irresistible, all-consuming experience.
Stream: “Pickup, Don’t Pickup” – HONEYMOAN
One untapped recipe for self love?
Channel all your raw emotions, your ecstasy and your angst, into an album of unapologetic passion and unrelenting energy. Let the feelings flow freely, spilling out of every crevice, every orifice and every instrument. Hold nothing back; let the music be your diary and your muse, a space of simultaneous self-reflection and self-discovery in which you can be your truest self – unabridged, uncompromising, and undeniable.
It worked wonders for HONEYMOAN, and it can work for you, too. The London-based South African alt-pop-meets-indie-rock band aches and shakes in all the right ways on their long-awaited debut album, a sweaty, sexy fever dream that hits hard and holds nothing back.
Pick up, don’t pick up
Cold sweats tight chest
Words dropping heavy
What was said
Keep ringing loud
But looking down
Why am I wet?
Well did you eat her
Did you please her
When she left d’you pull her close and say
Was nice to see ya
Was it dreamy?
Was it steamy?
Did you ever think of me and
what were you feeling?
Independently released September 29, 2023, Sorry Like You Mean It is a vibrant and visceral best-foot-forward from a band that has never shied away from sharing their full selves in song. For five years now, HONEYMOAN – comprised of frontwoman Alison Rachel, multi-instrumentalist Skye McInnes, and producer Josh Berry – have been delivering dynamic eruptions of fervor and flavor, first from their native Cape Town, South Africa, and more recently from their adopted home of London, England.
Following 2020’s Weirdo and 2021’s Palace – two EPs that saw the trio coming into their own with an effortless charm and a distinct, striking sound – Sorry Like You Mean It is at once an evolution and an affirmation of everything HONEYMOAN have shared up to this point in their short, but impactful career. The band’s first full-length offering runs the gamut in terms of sound, style, and story, highlighting the breadth and depth of their talents through a radiant range of cinematic, spirited anthems and more intimate, brooding ballad(-ish) types. Rachel – who also runs the popular empowerment brand “Recipes For Self Love” (which has nearly half a million followers on Instagram, and through which she published her first book in 2019) – spills her soul amidst a backdrop of roaring guitars, radiant synths, charged drums, and more, implicitly inviting us to sing along as she and her band mates spread their metaphorical wings and soar.
“We are so happy to have the opportunity to make an album,” Rachel tells Atwood Magazine. “We’ve been living in different continents for basically the whole time we’ve been making music together, so to have the chance to get together and write and record a full length record was really special. It’s extra special because it was written and recorded in our old studio in Cape Town, and now we all live in London, so it feels like the end of a chapter somehow.
“We generally don’t have a vision per se for a release,” she explains. “We have more of a vision for each track and then jostle them around to see if they work cohesively as a body of work. It’s nice to work like this and to see the vision kind of appear by itself, rather than craft work to fit into a particular conceptual framework. We just do what feels good and luckily it seems to work out.”
If you’re looking for an echo chamber
Then I’m an open field
If you want to feel in danger
try drag around your shield
Commit to going the distance
Louder you scream do they listen
I’m Sorry mister
But can’t sell me on the jackpot
Of an ever turning wheel
– “Seriously, Goodluck With That,” HONEYMOAN
Alison Rachel candidly describes Sorry Like You Mean It as “fun, sexy, and loud.”
“It’s pretty diverse in style and theme, and overall I think it represents us quite well,” she says. “We’re pretty versatile and there’s a lot of variety on this album so I think it captures our artistry pretty well. It’s great to have more time and space in a full length to express yourself and we enjoyed the opportunity to share a bit more of ourselves than we’ve previously had with EPs.”
The album’s title is lifted from the song of the same name, which ended up being the lead single as well. “We just resonated with the idea of it being the title track,” she recalls. “We threw around a bunch of ideas, but always came back to this one.”
Hurt my feelings
Sip your hard seltzer in the
we’ve got a long one
Stronger than I look but
Weaker than you think
Easily bite the hook
You know just how to sink me
Shrug it off this time
A series of repeats so
Up into my eyes say sorry like you mean it
Sorry like you mean it
Make a fist or hold a hand
Take a risk
Or go as planned
What other choices
Make themselves available
You never try you never know
– “Sorry Like You Mean It,” HONEYMOAN
Seething, soaring, and soul-stirring, Sorry Like You Mean It is charged and charming, compelling and captivating all at the same time.
From the seductive strut and raw empowerment of opening track “Pickup, Don’t Pickup” to the cathartic release of finale “It’s Gone,” HONEYMOAN cultivate an all-consuming experience that demands its audience’s attention, if not our very participation.
“‘Pickup, Don’t Pickup’ was one of the original songs that we felt deserved a place on the record,” Rachel explains. “It’s a really fun one about being cheated on, but getting weirdly turned on by it. It’s sexy and feels empowered even though it’s about something that usually is considered to be disempowering. Skye wrote this cool afro-beat demo with the guitar hook that kind of inspired the whole vibe for the track.”
Additional highlights include the glistening, smoldering funk-fueled groove “Seriously, Goodluck With That,” the heated, kaleidoscopic eruption “Bad News,” and the unrelenting (and irresistibly catchy) mixed-emotions hyperpop song “Show You Off.”
“We had a lot of fun with [‘Show You Off’],” Rachel recalls, “which is probably one of the ‘sillier’ tracks on the record. It’s so interesting the three of us working together, because although we have some overlaps in taste, for the most part we’re quite different… but something happens when we come together to make music that (most of the time) just works, but none of us as individuals would make. This song is about having a fling with someone who’s cringe and you don’t want your friends to know about them.”
I don’t know to me you’re a dying breed
One that is not likely
To be highly missed
When it’s gone quite like a garden weed
Is there a way I wonder
How to love your hate into oblivion
You’ve terrible taste
It’s obvious ideas retrograde
But I can’t help myself
I don’t want to show you off off off
Keeping up the story it feels mandatory
To keep things on the low down down down
Is it bad so say I’m a bit ashamed
– “Show You Off,” HONEYMOAN
Elsewhere, HONEYMOAN set “The Pace” on the song of the same name, employing a feverish, heavy beat and layered vocals to immerse, indulge, and hypnotize listeners. The titular “Sorry Like You Mean It” is an instantly memorable moment of ravenous alt-rock reckoning, finding Rachel singing a massive middle finger to an ex who did her dirty.
The propulsive penultimate track “We’re on an Island, but it’s the UK” is another standout, its moody, moving indie rock production and provocative-yet-mysterious lyrics reminiscent of artists like The xx and Phoebe Bridgers.
Write your story
The way you like it
the villain the victim
The hero in all your glory
Up to your hijinx
Denying the consequences
Make a splash baby it’s your season
Never needed a fucking reason
Step outside for fresh deep breath in
Keep ‘em guessing it’s what they need
And just won’t stop a long night no sleeping
Spit it out when you talk believing
Every word like it’s gospel jesus
“I like the lyrics from ‘We’re on an island, but it’s the UK,'” Rachel says. “Write your story the villain, the victim, the hero in all your glory up to your hijinx denying the consequences. The vibe of the song is so lighthearted and playful and I like the contrast with these kind of serious and accusatory lyrics.”
Ultimately, HONEYMOAN’s debut album is a celebration of all that makes this indie band so spectacular and stunning.
Moments of reckoning and reflection collide into one as the trio create a seductive, cathartic, and impressively cohesive journey that truly lives up to the words fun, sexy, and loud.
“Hopefully people will dance a lot and feel energized by it!” Rachel shares. “Hopefully they will feel connected to us and also to themselves. Maybe it will help them think or feel differently about something in their lives that needs a second look.”
Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside HONEYMOAN’s Sorry Like You Mean It with Atwood Magazine as Alison Rachel takes us track-by-track through the music and lyrics of the band’s debut album!
Stream: ‘Sorry Like You Mean It’ – HONEYMOAN
:: Inside Sorry Like You Mean It ::
Pickup, Don’t Pickup
We spent a lot of time during 2020 writing songs for our debut album. When we made the final selection of tracks, most of the earlier written songs didn’t make the cut. This song was one of the original songs that we felt deserved a place on the record. It’s a really fun one about being cheated on but getting weirdly turned on by it. It’s sexy and feels empowered even though it’s about something that usually is considered to be disempowering. Skye wrote this cool afro-beat demo with the guitar hook that kind of inspired the whole vibe for the track.
Seriously, Goodluck With That
This song was such fun to make. We wanted to try writing in a different way to how we usually do which can be a bit rigid and “on the grid”. We got our virtuosic friend Mikhaela Faye to come into the studio one day and play around on all the synths, rhodes, and even do some improv flute. Josh built it into this really lush layered track that feels pretty free and fun. The song is about how sometimes people with the most darkness inside them are the biggest advocates for the light, how people perform like they care about the things they’re meant to care about but underneath that they’re afraid and only really care about themselves.
This was one of the last tracks we wrote for the album, pretty much a few months before we needed to deliver the record. It’s got some very recognizable HONEYMOAN flavours with the hooky bass and big chorus. The story in this song is inspired by my first Autumn in London. It’s a simultaneous ode to and critic of this amazing city. It’s one of the great cities of our world, with such a rich history and grand cityscapes it’s so beautiful. It’s also got a very dark energy that can be quite intoxicating. It’s fast paced, godless and money obsessed, like Babylon haha. But I love it!
We were on the fence about this song at one stage and then came around to it being worth keeping on the record. It’s very produced and that’s something we wanted to be aware of with this release like not relying too heavily on the production. We came to the conclusion that even when stripped down it’s still a good song and it just sounds so good when blasted really loud. The lyrics talk about that dynamic that’s pretty common in relationships – there always being one person who’s slightly more into the other one. It talks about it from the perspective of the person who is in the position of power, the one who is slightly less invested. They argue that the relationship it’s worth a heartbreak and that the smart move in the long run is to just be friends.
Show You Off
We had a lot of fun with this song which is probably one of the ‘sillier’ tracks on the record. It’s so interesting the three of us working together because although we have some overlaps in taste, for the most part we’re quite different but something happens when we come together to make music that (most of the time) just works but none of us as individuals would make. This song is about having a fling with someone who’s cringe and you don’t want your friends to know about them.
Your House, Last Sunday
There are only three saddish songs on this album and this is one of them. We seem to be less drawn to melancholic music when we write together. It’s also probably the most simple song musically. It’s about being with someone who you don’t feel seen by, feeling lonely when you’re not alone and not knowing how to connect with this person who you love but feel estranged from.
We like to explore some substantial human topics like mental health issues and infidelity in our songs but are weary of sounding contrived which feels like it’s easy to do. This song is about suffering from anxiety and feeling weird inside your body but in a way that’s kind of funny and something like from the outside looking in. We also explored some new sonic landscapes with a string quartet in the bridge. We’ve never had real strings in our songs before.
We wrote this song quite early on in the process of working on material for this album and although it’s kind of understated and subtle we all really loved it from the beginning. It’s funny how everything you make you love somehow but some things just really feel like they represent you and this was one of those tracks for me at least. It’s about being in a relationship with someone who is depressed and it’s impacting the relationship negatively but they won’t take the necessary steps to try to change or improve their situation.
Sorry Like You Mean It
This song we wrote in one afternoon, it just fell out of us (so nice when that happens). When we were done with it we didn’t know it would be the title track but as we started playing all the demos for friends it kept coming out as a crowd favourite. This song is about how we all have power in creating our own reality and how we can choose what to do with the energy we have. We can make something beautiful or we can break it. We got to shoot a really fun video in Cape Town a few months before the song was released. I got to live my dream of sitting on a cake in a video so no matter what happens with the success of this album I managed to tick a huge thing off my bucket list.
We’re on an Island, but it’s the UK
We loved making this song so much. Skye got to write a riff that was a major nod to his and Josh’s shoegaze roots. It’s a simple song that sounds like a guitar band haha where many of our songs sound like something between a band and a pop project. This one explores the idea that we paint ourselves as the ‘good guy’ when in reality we’re all the same and are all responsible in some way for contributing to where we find ourselves right now with climate change and environmental disaster. We tell ourselves stories to help us sleep at night because the truth is too painful to embrace.
This is the oldest song on the album, we wrote this one maybe 3 years ago and have been performing it now and then at shows for a while. It’s a song about growing up, it’s about the freedom that comes with leaving childhood behind, but also the need to let go of things that hold you back, that keep you in a state of being a child in some way. It’s about healing and inner-child work and embracing the unknown, releasing attachment and finding peace. A nice neat way to end the album, haha!
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© David J. East
:: Stream HONEYMOAN ::