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Synthpop EP Review: "Whisper of Light" by Honey Beard

Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.


Review of New EP Whisper of Light

Whisper of Light is an EP full of floating atmospheres and soaring synths that dance around heavier and darker lyrical content. I’d describe the overall content of this album as darkly ethereal. The lyrics combine melancholy, introspection and emotion and the sonic landscape is drenched in atmospherics. There’s a light touch on the synths, but it is counterbalanced by the rumble of the bass and the propulsive force of the percussion.

The EP's Mood

Catchy, hooky melodies are not a part of Whisper of Light, but in this case I don’t think they are necessary. Some listeners might want more infectious melodies but the mood of this EP really wasn’t meant, in my view, to be pure pop. That isn’t to say that the melodies are lacking, just that they aren’t these shiny, happy sounding things in the same way as they might be on something with a more saccharine pop-oriented sound.

The musical bed for this EP has been well produced and it acts as a firm foundation for the song craft that’s on display. The showcasing of the emotional content is achieved with sounds that keep the ear engaged, reflecting the sentiments being expressed.

The lyrics are carefully crafted and well-performed. There’s an aching and a yearning, almost painful that comes through in the words. I feel that a sense of loss pervades much of the album. It is counterbalanced by the sonic energy that pushes the music forward. Layers of arps, pads, drums and bass create a real fullness to the sound that is in contrast to the words.

This album has a strong flavour of the kind of ‘80s synthpop that I really enjoy. It combines light and darkness, sadness and warmth in equal measures. It holds up the torch for synthpop and pushes it forward into this new era where hope is a little more tarnished and things seem less clearly to be making progress than they did back in the ‘80s.

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My Favorite Tracks

Under the Ferris Wheel is a track that sounds like it might be a piece of retro nostalgia, until one actually listens to what the lyrics are saying, and then we find ourselves in a much less comfortable place. Somehow, the soft washes of sound that swirl around it only serve to emphasize those discomforting elements in the song.

There is something about the track entitled Full of Stars that catches and holds my attention. I can’t precisely pinpoint it, but the overall mood has such a quality of aching to it that I find myself constantly putting it on repeat.

Honey Beard's Use of Melancholy

Melancholy is a necessary part of this EP. I think one of the reasons that Whisper of Light works out so well is the fact that it isn’t totally positive and upbeat. The hints of darkness and thwarted emotion are a strong element that holds the whole EP together. There is, at least for me, an element of catharsis in this kind of melancholy.

Why You Should Listen to This EP

The combination of the emotional punch of the lyrics with the driving beats, drifting pads and sounds that sometimes soar, and sometimes touch the depths, make Whisper of Light an enjoyable listening experience.

© 2019 Karl Magi

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