POP RESCUE: ‘Honey Lingers’ by Voice Of The Beehive (CD, 1991)


Today’s POP RESCUE is the 1991 second album Honey Lingers by five-piece band Voice Of The Beehive.

Voice Of The Beehive - Honey Lingers (1991) albumThis 10 track album opens with the chugging guitar and beat of lead single Monsters And Angels. Sisters Tracey Bryn Belland and Melissa Brooke Belland soon arrive. Their delicately soft vocals work wonderfully well together on this gentle pop song. There’s moments that remind me of the softer moments of Shakespear’s Sister. I don’t remember this being a single, but it understandably fared well in 1991, reaching #17 in the UK, and becoming their biggest hit.

A rapid round of snare drum introduces next track Adonis Blue, and it’s straight into guitars and vocals. Here, the duo make this song sound like something you’d find on a Heather Nova album. There’s some nice vocal harmonies in the chorus. The guitar is light enough to allow the sisters ample room to do plenty of soft ‘oooh‘s. This is quite a nice warm, summery song.

Next up is second single I Think I Love You, a cover of The Partridge Family‘s 1970 debut single. The song is an inspired cover, and vocally the chorus is really catchy, but the rest of the song is quite difficult and downbeat. Legendary producer Don Was is in control here, and that more than likely helped this song find the success it did – a moderate hit at #25 – and it is the only song of theirs that I’d ever heard of.

This is followed by Look At Me, which is a heavier more rock track, but it’s far catchier, and at times it makes me think of the kind of slightly punk pop chaos that you’d find in the B-52s. There’s some pretty fantastic roaring guitar in this track.

Fifth track, Beauty To My Eyes is a nice gentle strum-along track. There’s plenty more here that reminds me of Heather Nova again, and also carries some slight country music nods. Whilst Tracey and Melissa’s vocals are dreamy, breathy, and light here, and the song is generally just ‘nice’, the song isn’t particularly catchy.

Up next is Just Like You, which seems to have the B-52s Love Shack beats to it. There’s a great little riff at the start, and the it’s a great start for this up-beat pop song. This really should have been a single. It’s pop, catchy, and funky too. This is flawless.

What feels like a saccharine 50’s cover, Little Gods isn’t. It was written by Marvin Etzioni (Lisa Loeb, Maria McKee, Dixie Chicks, Toad The Wet Sprocket amongst others) and it flows pretty well. The sisters make easy work of the slightly twee lyrics here, and the song lasts a mere 2m 37s.

I’m Shooting Cupid follows this, opening like an R.E.M song (think Shiny Happy People). There’s plenty of space given to Tracy and Melissa to show off their vocal power, pitched against a wall of acoustic guitar and backing vocals. It’s definitely a grower, and by the time of the guitar solo in the middle, I was tapping my foot along and prepared for a sing-a-long chorus.

Penultimate song Say It feels like the weakest song here. The vocals seem to be slightly muted, and the sister’s bandmates meander their way through the song. There’s a slight country music feeling to this, until the piano arrives at about 1m 40s, from which point the song seems to take on an extra strength and redeem itself.

The album closes with third and final single Perfect Place. This is a much more gentle song, and a good choice to close the album with. Vocals really shine here, in solo and harmonies making this pop-lite song a bit of a contrast to some of the earlier tracks. This was their penultimate charting single in the UK, scraping in at #37.

Over all, this album still stands up quite well, and there’s little here that feels dated or awkward to listen to 14yrs later.  PWL producers Ian Curnow and Phil Harding joined the likes of Don Was on this album, which makes it feel odd that it didn’t fare as well as some of their other work.

Still, it’s a nice enough album, that might have fared better with the single release of Just Like You, and more songs like it.

Where are Voice Of The Beehive now?

Voice Of The Beehive continued to record and release singles after this album. Only one – 1995’s Angel Come Down single – charted in the UK, stalling at #103. Three further singles and album Sex & Misery from 1996 all failed to chart.

The group disbanded in 1996.

POP RESCUE RATING

  • POP RESCUE 2015 RATING: 3 / 5
  • 1991 UK CHART POSITION: #17
  • POP RESCUE COST: £1.99 from an Oxfam store.

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