by Caitlin Baldridge
Coming together from San Luis Obispo and Sacramento, Becky Filip and Jacob Wick make up the melodious and earthly music that is The Honey Trees. The dreamy pop compositions are soft, low-key, and nothing short of mesmerizing. The Honey Trees began officially in 2008 and it wasn’t long before Nashville producer Charlie Peacock discovered their Myspace and decided to give them a shot in his studio to record their first EP Wake the Earth in 2009. While Wake the Earth isn’t lacking in stunning beauty and deliberate musicianship, it’s obvious that during the four years between this and their next album the duo made leaps and bounds with composition, variety, and fullness of sound. Not to mention that Wick doesn’t even sing until Bright Fire. This changes a lot because his vocals add so much in the means of harmony and beauty. Both of the members’ voices are haunting, with Filip resembling Greta Salpeter of the Hush Sound and Wick resembling Richard Edwards of Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s. They come together to create spectacular male/female harmonies-alike one of my favorites the Oh Hello’s-accompanied by gorgeous acoustic guitar, piano, and light drums. The intricate combination of vocals and instrumentation is well thought-out and isn’t lacking in musical expertise.
The album is a lovely amalgamation of ballads with minimal instrumentation like “Wild Winds”, a more upbeat sound incorporating electric guitar and violin to fill it out in “Nightingale”, and even the incorporation of synthesizers with “Ours”. The album begins with Filip lulling us into a dreamy, floating introduction with “By the River”. Soon Wick comes in to instill pleasant harmonies that waver throughout the track. Then Wick gets his turn to open with the next track “Still I Try”. On top of everything they write beautiful lyrics, too; “So I try to keep you by my side / I’ll let things go to make this right / A kiss to change your mind / But still I lose you every time”. The melancholy message of a lover gone awry isn’t atypical but the dreamy state in which it’s presented is what makes it unique in this track.
The only complaint with Bright Fire is that it does blend a bit. You can’t really tell where one track starts and the next begins at times, and while it’s all beautiful, it’s not as distinct as it could be. That being said it certainly doesn’t take away from the beautiful musicianship of the duo and it’s a very impressive first studio album.