Dark Star Honey Tree is the efforts of brothers Vincent and Victor Armour. The duo is getting ready to release their sophomore effort entitled Sol Secondus. Sol Secondus has twenty tracks and what you might consider a unique dichotomy. The band will play an atmospheric pop/rock song followed by a field recording that on average lasted about thirty seconds.
I have to admit I have ambivalent feelings about this. The short ambient breaks between songs felt marginal and kept breaking up the ebb and flow of the actual songs, which were the meat and potatoes of the album. Furthermore the ambient breaks didn’t transition into the song and felt like their own separate island.
The best thing about Dark Star Honey Tree is that they are electric. There are multiple styles and the band does have some originality. Perhaps the most challenging aspect for listeners is the singing. Some of the singing works and other times I was having a harder time with it. One of the brothers occasionally sings in a high-pitched voice which unequivocally has a nasally inflection. Other times the brothers really pull off exceptional harmonies.
The first track is “First Secondus” and is the only ambient piece that didn’t feel like a filler. I was hoping for more pieces like this but this was the only one I got. They combine warm tranquil pads with vocal snippets of people talking and piano. It’s a gorgeous piece but really isn’t indicative of anything else on the album.
For example, the next song “Oort Clouded Boundary” is an atmospheric rock tune. I need to point out that the vocals during the verse were above the mix but I couldn’t understand the lyrics. The singer runs his words together to the point where I would need a lyric sheet to understand anything. “Oort Clouded Boundary” isn’t the strongest song on the album but the duo makes up for it.
The band is at their best when they get experimental and think outside of the box. Take for instance the electronic, off kilter song “By Our Luna.” The song is hard to pinpoint and that's why it works. The best vocal performances belong to “Caelus Axis” and the upbeat “Asteroid Families.” The mystical sounding “Falter Before Neptune” and “A Decade for Mercury” are certainly other highlights.
Sol Secondus is definitely ambitious and not all of it works but it has enough inspired moments that I encourage you to check it out and make up your mind. Recommended.
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