For those who tuned in late (meaning you haven’t been following The Honeydogs’ career since their formation in 1994), Chasing The Sun condenses 16 years of creativity (and 10 studio albums) into one handy-dandy 35-track killer collection. If I had to try to sum up The Honeydogs sound in five words, I’d have to say, “Think Jay Bennett-era Wilco.” Or if allowed a few more words, I’d expand that thought to, “If you’re looking for kitchen-sink-at-the-ready power-poppish arrangements that never forget the wallop of a hard-strummed acoustic guitar beneath it all – the kind of thing that Jay Bennett was the master of – then dig into The Honeydogs.” Yep … that’s probably what I’d say.
Actually, The Honeydogs’ sound is broader than that – but there are times throughout Chasing The Sun (and again, remember: we’re talking about samples taken over a 16-year span, so it’s not just a passing phase) when your head’s going to snap around toward a stereo speaker and you’re going to think, “Hey – is that off Being There? Or Summerteeth? What the hell is that?” It should be mentioned that there are moments when lead singer Adam Levy’s voice is a dead ringer for Jeff Tweedy’s. Seriously. And after a bit, you realize it’s not affected – even Tweedy couldn’t sing with this much passion and sound like himself … that’s just Adam Levy, straight up. And as chief writer for The Honeydogs, the guy is also a master of firmly implanting cool, clever, wise-ass-but-cerebral-at-the-same-time lyrics into your brain, fortified with melodic hooks that make you think you’ve heard them before.
Beyond the Wilco thing, The Honeydogs embrace the vibe of (without echoing) everybody from The Beatles (thick air/sonic butter) to Alejandro Escovedo (torn and frayed and perfect).
Not everybody can drop what sounds like an electric sitar solo into the middle of a vintage Rockpile-sounding tune and make it work (“Red Dye #40”). Not everybody can dole out their own 4:19 masterpiece that out-Tom-Pettys Tom Petty (“I Miss You”). Not everybody remembers the sheer kickass fun of a speaker-to-speaker-panning twin guitar jam (“Levers, Pulleys & Pumps” or “Balaclava”, two of the collection’s newer tunes). Not everybody can make my wife furrow her forehead and ask, “Earth, Wind & Fire?” (No, my love: that would be “Truth Serum” – but I know what you mean.) Heck, The Honeydogs even have a theme song from a movie that doesn’t exist yet (“The Kiss”) – not everybody has one of those, either.
But most of all, not everybody could sample a 16-year career from start to finish and manage to come up with so much consistently good stuff – stuff that, when it comes right down to it, sounds just like The Honeydogs from beginning to end.
So what if you tuned in late; here’s your chance to catch up.