The Bigger Lovers – Honey In the Hive

What I Think of When I Think of This Artist (part 2)

I sincerely hope there will always be bands playing power pop. It’s such a fun, heart-on-sleeve genre, all the more charming because it is largely the province of nerds and dreamers. The world needs more of that.

What I Think of This Album

More energetic power pop, leavened with a few love songs, by the Bigger Lovers, who ditch the country excursions of the debut for a more straightforward sound.

An excellent opener in every way, “Half Richard’s” cleverly throws shade on the father of a former lover’s new baby, moving from a backhanded verse (“I’m so happy for you I can barely speak / A smile so beguiling and a chin so weak / He’s an angel in disguise / But I see Richard in his eyes”) to a chorus that doubles down in the most explicit way (“It’s such a shame / It’s such a shame / It’s such a shame / He’s half Richard’s”), this is just as sonically pleasing as it is lyrically evil. “A Simple ‘How Are You’” finds success mostly due to a chirpy keyboard part and the always-propulsive drumming of Pat Berkery, who also shakers and tambourines. “Emmanuelle” is a keening ballad that owes a lot to its fine melody, harmonies, and a smeary lead guitar tone; the two guitars engage in a surprising but welcome minor skirmish towards the end.

Light and lovely is how we describe “Make Your Day,” with some nice “bah bah bah”s. Another ballad, “They Haunt Me Still” is well-produced but not as engaging as the faster stuff. The guitars of “Bought Your Ghost” announce the third should-be hit of the album. The quartet tackle a Kinks-type song in “Don’t Know Why,” but add an echoey slide guitar that I am sure Dave Davies would approve of, in any event. The chorus is the best part of “What Would it Take?”, followed by an uncharacteristically harder rockin’ bridge (those drums!), but the verses don’t quite match up; the acoustic guitars are a sweet embellishment. Another ballad arrives in “You’re In Love, Again,” which is fine, but not really the Bigger Lovers’ strong suit. That said, the guitars sound great and the bass is noticeably melodic. “Ivy Grows” has all the right ingredients but they only come together in the chorus, unfortunately. A little bit of psychedelia informs “Minivan Blues,” which exists in a traveling carnival miasma; don’t get lost in the fairway.

The liner notes thank Ass Ponys.

The Best Thing About This Album

“Half Richard’s” is an excellent oddball putdown.

Release Date

2002

The Cover Art

The flower pic is lovely, I like the blue tone a lot, and the black field is excellent (I am not sure what the ripples are in the upper right). The font leaves a lot to be desired, however (the uploaded image has poor resolution; it is in reality much sharper).

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