Review of CRUSHED - Punk Rock Theory, August 28, 2017

On their debut full-length, Southern California’s honeychain crushes it. Think of 90ies act such as Letters To Cleo and Veruca Salt and mix them up with The Muffs (whose Kim Shattuck produced “Crushed”) along with a dash of Blondie and you are not too far off the mark. Need more convincing? Check out opening track “Bombs Away”, which will tell you everything you need to know about this band.

honeychain have a lot of energy going on, know their way around a hook and have a more than capable frontwoman in the form of Hillary Burton, who somehow pulls it off to sound powerful and fragile at the same time as she lays it all out there. You get a lot of bang for your buck with the catchy title track and “Messy Love,” both of which come with a 60ies garage-y vibe as well as the jangly pop of “Ready For The World To End” and the infectious “Three Horizons”.

“Crushed” might not be the most original album out there, but it is a surefire way to brighten up your day considerably. And these days, I’m thinking we can all do with some more of that in our lives.

 

https://www.punkrocktheory.com/music_reviews/honeychain-crushed

 

Review of CRUSHED - Razorcake, August 2, 2017

If you have ever wondered what it would be like if Debbie Harry sang for The Muffs, then wonder no more as L.A.’s Honeychain has nailed that sound on the head, especially on the opening track “Bombs Away.” It’s actually ex-Nushu member Hillary Burton taking on vocal and guitar duties in the three piece and additionally writing lyrics which would easily fit in many songs by The Muffs. It’s no coincidence then to discover that The Muffs’ Kim Shattuck produced Crushed and that she and Burton are both in the current lineup of Shattuck’s other band, The Pandoras. If Flipside was still around today, I’m certain that Honeychain would be featuring heavily in its pages. I love it! –Rich Cocksedge (Self-released, honeychainmusic@gmail.com, honeychainmusic.com)

 

http://razorcake.org/honeychain-crushed-cd/

 

Review of CRUSHED - Faster and Louder, June 1, 2017

 

I have been waiting quite a while for the chance to write about a new honeychain record. Honeychain, to me, is the quintessential southern California punky pop band. I was late to discover the group's 2013 EP Futurabut have since found it to be one of the present decade's most satisfying power pop releases. Fast forward to today. Crushed is the L.A. trio's highly anticipated debut LP - four years in the making and worth every minute of the wait.   

While the quick sell on honeychain is to appeal to fans of The Muffs, Veruca Salt, Go-Go's, etc., the real story is that singer/guitarist Hillary Burton is an immensely talented songwriter. When I heard that honeychain was recording a cover of Material Issue's "Going Through Your Purse" for an upcoming Girlsville/Nerve Centre compilation called Neon Maniacs, I thought that was perfect. Hillary Burton is very much like Jim Ellison - a gifted storyteller with a flair for the bittersweet and a willingness to wear heart on sleeve. She can write a simple hook that will knock you out, but there's even more there if you dig deeper into the songs. Enlisting Kim Shattuck to produce Crushed was clearly a smart move. Seriously, who knows great pop better than Kim Shattuck? And as a producer, Shattuck totally "gets" Burton and really allows her songs to shine. The vibe is punky power pop by way of '90s alternative rock, a recipe that holds up remarkably well in 2017.  

Crushed represents so many things I love in music - mixing crunchy guitars, sweet melodies, and soaring harmonies with Burton's emotional vocals and clever, often acidic lyrics. Opener "Bombs Away" is that rare four-minute pop song that doesn't seem a minute too long. It grabs you not just with a strong melody, but also with exceptional lyrics and a vocal that allows you to genuinely feel the disillusionment of love gone bad. The title track is more of the same in an entirely good way. Once that hook comes in, it seems unfathomable that this song is not all over the radio! And while Burton is so incredibly good at articulating heartbreak and regret (a cover of Kathy Valentine's "Some Other Girl" is one of this album's can't-miss moments, and you have to love the deceivingly peppy "Three Horizons"), she's equally adept at taking the optimist's angle. "Ready for the World to End" is unabashedly romantic but in a darkly, twisted way. I wish I had written it! And "Messy Love" is a completely real yet genuinely affirming love song - something very rare in today's rock world. 

So after all of this time, I finally have the pleasure of recommending a honeychain album to all of you reading right now. If you like the idea of quality power pop with a touch of punk and the spirit of what alternative rock used to be when it was good, Crushed is a can't-miss release. It's a darn near flawless album that works in plenty of variety (be sure to check out the gorgeous, chiming pop of "When I Stumble" and the heart-racing punk rush of "There Goes That Girl [Again]"). As we step into the month of June, this is the perfect album to crank loud in the car as you soak up the summertime sun and enjoy the heck out of life. And if it seems like nearly every song on the record could be seamlessly added to the Clueless soundtrack, that is a very good thing indeed. 

By: Lord Rutledge

http://fasterandlouderblog.blogspot.com/2017/06/honeychain-makes-album.html

 

 

Review of CRUSHED - The Bigtakeover, issue 80, published May 2017 - TOP 40 Pick

Four too-long years after 2013’s fine five-song FuturaEP, L.A.’s Hillary Burton and Co. hit harder on their first LP. The template remains: an unabashed, delightfully effective blend of ‘60s pop with punky energy like older La La Land barnstormers Bangs/Bangles, Muffs, and Wednesday Week (note, since I referenced that triumvirate in #72, Ms. Burton has joined main-Muff Kim Shattuck in The Pandoras, and Shattuck produces Crushed and guest guitars on two tracks!), heavier than Burton’s old work with Lisa Mychols in Nushu. But with these ramped up guitars and nippy tempos, they’re knocking on Pointed Sticks/Hypnotised Undertones territory, such as the zinging “Crushed,” “Violet,” “Bombs Away,” and “Some Boys Lie!” With her surefire hooks, you could imagine Burton with bangs on Shindig or Ready Steady Go in 1965, only singing about more mature romance. But though her sincere voice is more Lulu, try thinking Fay Fife; like Fife’s Rezillos, this garage/punk burns deep into rockers’ hearts too. Groovy

by: Jack Rabid (Top 40 pick)

 

 

Review of CRUSHED - May 24, 2017

honeychain unleashes a tidal wave of pop fury and rock’n’roll rapture on their hot blooded new release Crushed. Passion and betrayal burn wildly through the amplifiers while the heartfelt harmonies flow like a cool breeze wrapping itself around the hedonistic beauty of Los Angeles. With the flirtatious bite of Beauty and the Beat and scratchy grandeur of Blonder and Blonder,Crushed delivers a seductive tapestry of modern day pop wizardry. 

Hillary Burton continues to evolve as an intriguing and truly unique songwriter. Soon to be summertime anthems “Crushed”, “Messy Love”, and “Some Other Girl” twist and shout with shimmering choruses and unrestrained 60s garage finesse. Kim Shattuck’s intimate and raw production adds a new dimension to the band’s sleek and stylish sound.

“When I Stumble” and “Ready for the World to End” jangle and gently shake with Deborah Harry sass and Buddy Holly vibrations. The infectious “Three Horizons” devises a moody magnetic pull that relies on the band’s skillful rhythm section and carefully colored notes to create an unusual detour in their already impressive catalog. From the red hot album opener “Bombs Away” to the hypnotic acoustic closer “Welcome to My Life”, honeychain delivers an unforgettable listening experience.
 

by: Kevin Patrick McGovern

http://longbeachloathing.blogspot.com/2017/05/honeychain-crushed-review-and-interview.html?m=1

 

 

 

Review of CRUSHED - May 23, 2017

honeychain’s follow-up to 2013’s “Futura” has been well worth the wait. Hillary Burton and the lads have cooked up 11 stellar tracks, brimming with muscular guitars and instantly likable chorus hooks. Beginning with the one-two punch of “Bombs Away” and “Crushed,” the group is in your face like prime Material Issue and The Ramones.
Kim Shattuck of The Muffs produced this record, so it should come as no surprise that Burton’s pop-punk comes delivered with a similar ferocity as that excellent band. These tunes are short and sweet and sound fantastic in the car with the windows rolled down. Very highly recommended.

by: Dan Pavelich (Kenosha News)

http://www.kenoshanews.com/get_out/quick_spins_willie_nelson_invites_us_all_to_his_party_493095658.php

 

honeychain breaks the sound and style barrier

           JULY 8,2014 FEAR & LOATHING IN LONG BEACH

honeychain breaks the sound and style barrier on their most recent release “FUTURA”. This infectious EP of punk soaked garage-pop has an enormous sound that shrouds the listener in a flurry of electric guitars, sexy vocals, and relentless rocking beats. Even more impressive is that band founder Hillary Burton wrote all of the songs and plays every instrument on this showcase of premium Los Angelian rock n roll. A razor edged prowess that constructs songs into anthems shines through these five tracks of love, regret, and clever observation. Life in the big city and its sometimes-seedy beaches takes on a new meaning when turned into sonic blasts, cunning jolts that riff the nuances of Southern California perfectly.

With the bite of The Pandoras and the class of The Primitives, opening track “The All-About Me Girl” grooves on a kickass chord progression that hits hard while igniting the senses with a crisp chorus that addresses that self-absorbed someone we all know, that gives us the brush. “Easy to Forget” follows with an indictment of the wannabe narcissist in our lives. If Susanna Hoffs sung for the Ramones, it might sound something like this. The pristine grittiness of the mid-tempo ballad “Two Fools” has a classic picked apart power-chord flow that lets the choruses come crashing in while the beach-drenched melody pours slowly but surely.

The smash hit off this short but sweet collection is the frenzied and seriously fun “Lucky One”. Fast and scattered guitar licks compliment the intense songwriting. This tune will definitely turn some heads. Shamelessly catchy and relentless in its energy, you’ll have this one on repeat for quite some time. Closing out the idiosyncratic festivities is a Ronettes inspired number that surely knows how to make dynamics and mood swings co-exist. “Than You” is a perfect closer and contains my favorite lyrics penned by Hillary. She exclaims, “I'M YOUR BIG DISASTER - OF A HAPPILY EVER AFTER, I WISH THAT I COULD FLEE (ME)”. Now that is a train of thought I can always relate to and that’s what makes for the best rock n roll.

Honeychain became a full on band shortly after this recording. They are currently working on a new recording with the legendary Kim Shattuck (of Muffs fame) producing. If that wasn’t enough, they are also invading the International Pop Overthrow Festival in L.A. this summer. Very worth your while…

-Kevin McGovern

Honeychain

Fear and Loathing LB official site

 

impossible to listen to without referencing the awesomeness that is The Muffs

“FUTURA” (CD/Download 2012)

By Rich Cocksedge

The version of honeychain responsible for this five track EP that saw the light of day at the start of 2013 was basically a one woman show with that woman being Hillary Burton, most recently to be found in the duo, Nushu. The five tracks featured on this debut release are impossible to listen to without referencing the awesomeness that is The Muffs, in that there is that same amount of grit added to a highly enjoyable poppy-punk delivery.

Musically this is straight up power-pop that a) finds the sweet spot and hits it over and over for almost sixteen minutes and b) highlights the obvious talents of Burton, who has only had help with backing vocals on this release. The EP fires into life with “The All-About-Me Girl”, a tale of lost friendship that brings to mind The Bangles and The Go-Go’s in addition to The Muffs.

“Easy To Forget” maintains that sweet sounding guitar but within the chorus it has qualities reminiscent of some of the Sixties girl groups as it seems to be layered to add some depth to the song. “Two Fools” doesn’t stray too far from what is a formula that suits Burton and the songs she has written for this release although it does slow the mood down a bit for the verses in preparation for a bigger sounding chorus.

The final track “Than You” again shows how Burton has the ability to build a layered song that almost wraps the listener up in a comfort blanket, with a lush sound that ends with one final chord left ringing from the guitar; ringing as if it’s about to make a delayed return but never actually doing so.

Since the recording and release of this EP Burton has formed a full on band which is currently in the process of writing and recording another handful of songs for a second EP; although as a patient man, I’m happy to just have these first five songs fizzing around in my head for now, but this will only serve to build my anticipation for the follow-up. For those who have the opportunity to catch the full band live then I urge you to do so.

 

the hooks come at you non-stop

honeychain, Futura: This one takes a trip to 1979 and wraps Blondie, The Ramones, The Buzzcocks, The Go-Go’s and countless other kindred spirits from back in that day around Hillary Burton’s capable hands. The sound nevertheless always remains contemporary. The hooks on this five-song EP come at you non-stop, often launched by pummeling percussion, driving bass and equally hammering guitars.

Pop that goes crunch Aug 31 2013


No. 37 on Jack Rabid's top 40 (The Bigtakeover, issue 72)
Jun 5, 2013 | The Big Takeover |
Even without her Nushu partner Lisa Mychols, Hillary Burton has no problem upholding the brilliant joy, boisterous bubble, and churning power-pop perspiration of the L.A. fab femme duo’s Hula LP (2010) and last year’s Joystick covers EP. Like Joystick only self-penned, her solo FUTURA might be better titled Past; the influences of the early, when-they-were-good Bangs/Bangles, The Muffs, Wednesday Week, and ’60s radio pop still ruled the roost, but with these kind of melodic flurries, meaty riffs, and girl-group drama lyrics, the old dog formula feels forever, not forgotten. Within the cascading voices of the closing “Than You,” there’s even a click in Burton’s voice that compares satisfactorily with Sandie Shaw and Cilla Black, an apprehensive vulnerability/hurt providing catchy contrast to the thicker guitars and crash cymbals bursting like 4th of July sparklers behind her resigned, “No one ever seems to be better for me/Than you. And her jubilant hooks throughout, like the clever kiss-off standout “[You’re] Easy to Forget,” cling like glue traps. More, more, more! (honeychainmusic.com) " - Jack Rabid, Big Takeover Magazine



FUTURA review by Something Else!

Recorded early in the year, Futura was initially intended to be a solo effort by Hillary Burton, who garnered accolades as one-half of the Southern California based Nushu, which also included Lisa Mychols. But shortly after the project was completed, honeychain ballooned into a full-blown band.

A five-track EP, Futura (www.honeychainmusic.com) is a power pop connoisseur’s passport to utopia. Boasting a thick and compact sound, the disc rocks like an earthquake to a vibrant rhythm charge.

Fired by sugar-ingested energy, cuts such as “Two Fools,” “Easy To Forget,” “The All-About-Me Girl” and “Lucky One” (featuring Lauren Doran and Christina Ownby on harmonies) kick the listener in the head and in the gut first time around. Buzzing guitars intertwined with hills of hooks and fresh and fluid vocals make the songs immediately memorable. The final tune on the record, “Than You” is performed at a slower tempo, but still retains a fetching edge.

All songs, which speak of challenging relationships in a most emphatic manner, were written by Hillary. She further sings lead on all the tracks and plays all the instruments, allowing Futura to share her numerous talents.

Forceful, lively and pop rocking to the core, here’s a disc sure to satisfy those appreciative of a good beat. Shades of the Ramones, Blondie, and the Knack regularly rise up through the grooves, but the attitude and delivery of the songs rest in the present.

The only problem with Futura is that it’s only an EP, giving us just a quick earful of greatness. But that will soon change, as we can certainly expect more cool stuff from Honeychain in the days to come. Utterly excellent!

Beverly Paterson



a power pop force to be reckoned with

honeychain is the current project helmed by the multi-talented Hillary Burton, late of the L.A.-based power pop outfit Nushu. On "Futura," honeychain's debut 5-songer, Burton steps out and handles everything (vocals, guitar, bass, drums and piano) herself, save for backing vox on one song. In lesser hands, this DIY approach could have come off as little more than a stilted vanity project, but Burton's instrumental and vocal prowess, the spirited performances, and her uniformly excellent tunes all gloriously transcend the stereotypical "one woman band" label and prove her to be a power pop force to be reckoned with. (Sound-wise, it's not unlike the Go-Go's hanging out in the garage with the Muffs, with the Ramones looking on approvingly.) Each of the five tunes of "Futura" is a hook-filled treat, with the sugar-sweet melodies, spiky guitars and brisk pace of "Easy to Forget" and "Lucky One" sitting nicely alongside moodier numbers such as the romantic "Two Fools" and the deeply personal "Than You," which is highlighted by an explosive, swirling chorus. The leadoff track, "The All-About-Me-Girl," pulls off the difficult feat of sounding simultaneously sing-songy and tough, with Burton's grinding guitar and insistent kick drum helping to power the aural kiss-off. "Futura" is an outstanding first step for Hillary Burton and honeychain, and definitely leaves the listener wanting more. John M. Borack


Highly Recommended by Powerpopaholic
honeychain “Futura”EP
honeychain is the solo project of Hillary Burton from the band Nushu, and the first thing you notice is the fuzzier and heavier guitar sound of “The All-About-Me Girl.” Burton’s clean mutli-tracked vocals keep the melody together and make it closer to the rock of Jana Peri or Joan Jett, without the growl. “Easy To Forget” is a highlight as the melody here really sticks, and the fast paced rhythm and climbing baseline hooks you. “Two Fools” is a catchy break-up tune with some great minor chord shifts that keep you wanting more, thankfully one slower tempo song, “Than You” allows us to catch our breath and ends in an echoing finale. Overall an excellent EP that proves Hillary’s sweet vocal can deliver rock and roll spice.
Written on February 26, 2013 by powerpopaholic in Highly Recommended by Powerpopaholic, Power Pop Review



FUTURA review
Feb 22, 2013 | Kenosha News |
 
honeychain, “FUTURA” (Honeychain Music) www.honeychainmusic.com If you’d handed me this CD and told me that Belinda Carlisle from 1982 had time traveled to 2004 to record with Green Day, who were on a break from recording “American Idiot,” I’d have believed you. Though Honeychain is now a full-fledged band, at the time these tracks were laid down, it was multi-instrumentalist Hillary Burton’s solo effort. This CD’s first single, “The All-About-Me Girl,” is already making inroads on the radio. Legendary L.A. disc jockey Rodney Bingenheimer has seen fit to spin it on his influential KROQ show. Burton serves up four slices of unforgettable power pop, before ending this EP with the somber “Than You,” which proves to be the aural equivalent of every heartbreak John Hughes ever filmed. Wonderful.


FUTURA review by Shockpop!
Jan 22, 2013 | Shockpop! |
 
Shades of Shangri-Las! Torn from the past and brought with loving care into the present ... "honeychain" adds that satisfying crunch of power (pop) chords and vocal panache that the "futura" of the genre demands!

"honeychain" is the new solo project of multi-talented singer/songwriter Hillary Burton!

"Futura" is a rollicking good time from start to finish! Excellent cure for those gloomy days of Winter ... What you need is a healthy dose of California sun in the shape of "honeychain"!


You guys should be hugging this honeychain EP like a well-loved teddy bear
Jan 20, 2013 | Pure Pop |
 
You guys should be hugging this honeychain EP like a well-loved teddy bear. It's that good. "The All-About-Me Girl" and "Easy to Forget" simply slay me, they're such good pop songs, expertly played and sung. And the closer, the anthemic "Than You," is a strong case for playing this EP out to full-length status