Bands to Watch #302: Honne

By on Monday, 28th July 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

July may almost be over, but we’ve still got several more weeks of (hopefully) sun-filled days and carefree star-filled nights before autumn makes her appearance. Perhaps it is the good feeling I have within me that even though we’ve passed quite a few summer festivals already, there are plenty more wonderful events to come and tease all of our senses, so the timing of the appearance of this act couldn’t be beat. Not to mention I’m sure this smooth jam will be a welcome soundtrack to, er, plenty of late night liaisons…

The duo in question that I am introducing to you today is called Honne. Like many words in Chinese that frustrate me because I can’t quite translate into an English equivalent and do the original phrase justice, the word “honne” in Japanese very loosely means “your true feelings and desires”. Andy Clutterbuck and James Hatcher, who have been mates ever since they met on the first day of university, were inspired to come up with their new act’s name on a trip to ol’ Nippon.

The press sheet explains the term is meant as “describing the contrast between what one thinks, and what they project to others” and “a perfect fit for [their] songs which frequently address private passions, and their playing out in public”. I find this description interesting, because there seems to be no question whatsoever what this Somerset and Wiltshire via Bow act’s first song to the world is about. Or what it’s meant to encourage.

Their first foray into the public realm has been anything but tentative, with NME premiering their debut single ‘Warm on a Cold Night’ last week and the magazine praising its “lusty, late night, urbanite feel”. It begins as if in a dream, as if literally emceed by a late night American soul DJ, that is. Clutterbuck’s echoey, r&b infused vocals – with a blue-eyed soul to rival those of Dave Bayley’s in Glass Animals’ debut LP ‘Zaba’ – slink around every turn of this soulful yet electronic beat-driven masterpiece. The lyrics will bring to mind loads of other soul classics in which a man is touchingly showing his appreciation for his woman: “And I can’t help but wonder / how we ended up alright / and I love you like no other / ‘cause this has never felt so right”.

But the difference in how this single will be received is its embracing of more forward-thinking production ala Frank Ocean and 2013 Mercury Prize winner James Blake, while the vocal delivery and overall feel are kept firmly rooted in classics of yesteryear. With a memorable chorus that is likely to get your head bopping and toes tapping, Honne are definitely an act to watch in the coming months.

‘Warm on a Cold Night’, the first single from Honne, will be released on the 1st of September on Super Recordings.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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