In some alternate universe, in a John Hughes soundtrack that never was, exists Forever Honey’s ‘Christian,’ 30-some years earlier than it would come to exist in ours. The opening track of the Brooklyn band’s new EP ‘Pre-Mortem High,’ ‘Christian’ is all zig-zagging bass, jangling guitar and rapturous synth, a coming of age scene in a new wave palette; some escapade on a warm summer night, a joyful high tinged with the mourning in knowing it won’t last.
As it is, ‘Pre-Mortem High’ was written not for a movie but for the moments in our young lives that feel cinematic anyway. When emotions are intensified to fill a panorama, when every word spoken feels vital. ‘Christian’ feels ecstatic yet filled with painful disappointment; conversely, end track ‘Where We Are Sometimes’ is devastating yet full of hopeful love. It’s an encapsulation of the intensity of youth, the certainty that every conflicting feeling is entirely congruous.
Much of the EP sees lead vocalist Liv Price peel back the façade of a relationship to see what lies beneath. The gently meandering ‘Go For A Smoke,’ for example, sees her running back to one such relationship, longing for a return to a time prior, only to admit later ‘I don’t feel nothing at all.’ ‘Christian,’ meanwhile, questions another person’s commitment: ‘Christian, well you warm my hands / But Christian, would you hold my hair back?’ She’s striving for honesty, whether from herself or another person, even when such openness is tough to hear; an exploration of one necessary part of growing up.
Seemingly the only one of the four tracks that don’t deal with a relationship with another person is ‘Twenty Five’; instead, it sees Price reckon with her relationship with herself. It describes the physical markers of aging she begins to notice on herself, and how it reminds her of her mother. ‘I thought I’d never say / I’m looking more like you every day / It’s not a bad thing / I just wanna recognize my face,’ she sings as the song spills over into chorus. It’s another distinct moment of coming of age that she faces, a physical division between youth and adulthood.
The effect of the band’s musical interplay on the emotional pull of the record can’t be overstated. Price, guitarist Aida Mekonnen, bassist Jack McLoughlin and drummer Steve Vannelli create a layered landscape of emotional highs and lows, each harmony and each instrumental flourish desperately evocative. The flow from one track to the next can feel a little stilted, a minor flaw that would surely be ironed out in a full-length, but each individual song has a smoothness and a drive to it that indicates a band able to really elevate a song. It’s a truly promising first outing for Forever Honey, four tracks that offer a brief taste of something exciting.