Pale Honey LP - Monolith Cocktail

Marking her first anniversary as a contributor to the Monolith Cocktail cause, Franco-Turkish novelist and adroit music critic Ayfer Simms lends her literary bent to the new album from the rowdy Gothenburg duo Pale Honey. In a celebratory mood, we also include some of Ayfer’s most memorable and finest reviews.

Pale Honey   ‘Pale Honey’   (Bolero Records)

Gothenburg: They enter the stage with a flippant presence; with the album Pale Honey, there is nonchalance, an immense amount of it, explosions, gentle melodies and a super funky cool allure: Between electro music and anachronistic indie sound of the 50s, 60s and 80s we are thrown in a slow motion atmosphere with layers of speed and bursting energetic guitars, pulsating sticks on bolted barrels and subtle psychedelic keyboard effects: Joined all by a suave cool, sweet and strong voice, a little girl? Fierce, a ballad, not so easy, not so fast.

Everything seems to role in a slow motion, we are on the side of a sunny road, the gleam of a charismatic presence in the distance hangs like the gold pot under the rainbow, at arm’s length: The drums shakes the hand of the guitar and flirts with the synth, mingles with the vocal as if this whole was of an organic build. Sounds and effects seem to be climbing on top of one another to assert dominance whilst respecting the aesthetic of the general cadence. This devilish cold blooded union has the effect of making the listener’s body agreeably shake and move in jerky movements, in a seemingly slow world. We are the lizards under a hard sun, pursuing that alluring flickering presence in the distance, and we are the owls twitching at the rustling of the leaves in the middle of a dry summer night.

They are fearless: Day, night, on dry land or under the ocean: they jump and dive: It is Rock and roll on an extraterrestrial ground made of moving sand: it’s dangerous yet the pleasure of being trapped in this throb is too good: Honey-like vocals, electro guns, detached; their sound “taste like a peach” says Dennis Hoppers’ character in True romance, the peach has the edge of a tiger living on top of our roofs with smooth paws.

The last track, ‘Sleep’, releases us from our gripping adventure with a calm kiss on our forehead: “I been going down, oh how I long, honey I’ve been gone too long.”  Send us off in a slumber, on a small boat, we are off to reach new shores, but the destination matters little.

Elevating albums and songs to great heights, even when sometimes unwarranted, Ayfer has spent the last year honing her craft. Passionate to a fault, Ayfer has written some of the most poetically inspiring and descriptive critique; always respectful and always supportive of the artists she engages with (still insisting on buying copies of the music she reviews, she practices what she preaches). Here is just a mere smattering of her ‘greatest hits’, including her most popular review – and one that gained a massive response from our readership, all complimentary I might add – yet, Blue Rose Code‘s The Ballads of Peckham Rye.  Click on the images below to read the full reviews.

Blue Rose Code   ‘The Ballads Of Peckham Rye’

Blue Rose Code - Monolith Cocktail review

‘If all the beaten souls, the stupefied hearts, the vagabonds, the Christopher McCandless’ were to return from the dead, they would all gather around Ross Wilson’s to shake his hand in recognition of his prose, for rendering so well what many take to the grave: this album comes from a place between life and death, where the quintessence of the man’s core, drips slowly and beautifully in our ears like an elixir of life.’

Opal Onyx   ‘Delta Sands’

Opal Onyx - Monolith Cocktail Blog

‘The album is the sound of the shipwreck long after everyone has died in the deepest of waters, it’s the sound of the womb pumping the blood of life, it’s the sound of the planets silently creaking in the dark, it’s the sound of the devil himself disguised as a cellist who returns from the dead to heal the inconsolable grief of his beloved wife crying for his sake.

Opal Onyx, the atmosphere, the voice, the cello and other mysterious instruments and techniques used, and the esoteric theme running through the entire album calls for a standing ovation. Let the curtain fall, let them bow, humble and proud.’

Grumbling Fur   ‘Preternaturals’

Grumbling Fur - Monolith Cocktail

‘Grumbling fur is the tribal union of men crossing history, from the spark of life to the ancestral figures dancing in the collective conscience, it is all the things that gathered from nothingness, mingled in time with sometimes harsh or commendable experiences. Grumbling fur sets up the theatre of men’s evolution. Their sound is the sever gaze of man resigned in their efforts as they work the land and the iron, the face of the worker of the industrial age, the miner, the black smith, the farmer turning the earth in the vast lands, is the industrial fist of men, the cell under the water accidentally  playing harmonious sounds.’

The Van Allen Belt   ‘Heaven On A Branch’

Van Allen Belt - Monolith Cocktail review

‘Look up! Past the stratosphere, there is a psychedelic wavelength trapping a ghostly clamor, a cool jazzy voice, traces of an older era of sounds, perfectly paired, bred with something new, a feel, a new genre perhaps that has no label as yet. It is possible to name the instruments one by one, even describe the vocalist’s suave confident voice that echoes above our heads, yet put all together this become a breathless orchestra, upbeat and melodious that forbids any sorts of appellations: “don’t give her any, she don’t need none, she don’t need none”. Indeed, we want to apply this for the Van Allen Belt as they pull us in a trance like mood for a minute before throwing us in a befuddled happiness the next. The tracks are like a roller coaster, sounds from the past swirling above our world while carrying the darkest of us with it.’

Mike Gale   ‘Sweet Marie’/ 

Camp Dark   ‘Are You Hiding

Camp Dark - Monolith Cocktail


‘The track’s lyrics are like the echoes of known words diffused in the air, remote and impalpable. Yet, Sweet Marie, the chorus, comes out like the flutter of a bird that we grasp with ease and the rest matters less so; we embrace the mood through the guitar chords following and guiding the melodious whisper of a man wandering in a folk pop languor…Sweet Marie is, indeed, the ethereal traveler’s prayer.’

Camp Dark:

‘There’s a worrisome journey into the mind’s abyss’s, an inner excavation, a downward whirl to a place where one does not wish to go willingly, one must dig and one must face, yet, is compelled to it, from forces emerging from the very depth of the mind.’

Words:  Ayfer Simms

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