Tuesday 3 February 2015

Honey Radar "Chain Smoking on Easter" (Third Uncle/Treetop Sorbet)

In true Not Unloved fashion, I feel the need to outline the typically haphazard way in which the outstanding Honey Radar lp "Chain Smoking On Easter" came into my life.  A while back my pal R asks if I follow (fanzine/podcast) Dynamite Hemorrhage on Twitter.  I say 'no' but duly rectify that.  DH then tweets with pride that one of the Ugly Things writers has listed it among their favourite things of 2014.  Being nosier than is decent and an obsessive digester of favourite things lists, I scour the aformentioned 'The Best of 2014 According To a Bunch of Ugly Things Writers' page and let out a little gasp when my eyes alight on this description:

Honey Radar Chain Smoking on Easter (Third Uncle) LP

Kitchen-sink psych-punk (ala Swell Maps, Television Personalities) using economy as a calling card, interspersed with ‘60s licks, noisy bits and a harmonious instrumental interplay. An assault of sixteen tracks blasts forth in a mere 21 minutes, and brings to mind the earliest moments of Pavement.

Maybe 32 seconds into streaming the album's arresting opener on bandcamp I was manically searching for a UK distributor.  Luckily Rough Trade had the smarts to stock it so a costly and fraught airmail experience was avoided.  There isn't a wasted second or the semblance of something I'd change given half a chance to across the entirety of this record and I certainly wouldn't be plum crazy enough to wish it had been recorded in a plush studio and not in the Richmond, Indiana home of Jason Henn.  At around 1 minute and 47 seconds, I used to believe Primal Scream's "Velocity Girl" to be the ultimate short duration pop song.  Then I heard The Charlottes' even shorter "Are You Happy Now?" and realised it wasn't.  At 47 seconds, however, "Alabama Wax Habit" makes the pair of them look like ponderous prog epics.  It makes its point and makes off with your heart in just 47 seconds.  Its tinnitus inducing (only in the left ear if you listen on headphones, mind) ultra-high pitch jangle is a sound beamed straight from my dreams.  In three decades of jamming Robert Pollard never happened on a more succinct but fully realised meeting of sound and melody.  "Birds Reunion" is the loosest, free-est recent rendering of the classic early Flying Nun Records sound.  In summary, "Chain Smoking on Easter" is pure orange sherbet and the most easily lovable missive from the US underground I've heard in years..  Thinking back, I don't recall being so concussed or made so madly evangelical about a record since "Eyes Rind as if Beggars" by The Garbage and The Flowers jump-started my heart and flooded my brain till it couldn't take anymore.  The new Twerps lp, the Go-betweens box set, those Pip Proud reissues etc. will have to wait to earn my love as Honey Radar won't be budging from my turntable any time soon.


  1. Wow, I love this!! Just ordered one.

  2. Nice one, Toby. Glad you're enjoying it.

  3. Circuitous routes r us!

    Just got round to reading Byron Coley in The Wire 476 October 2023 reviewing English Costume 7” took me to Pop Lib blog on Chain Smoking on Easter which directed me here brogues.

    It’s only been what 9 years since you wrote this! You’ll no doubt have already gotten them over for some gigs a’ready. Heehee

    illiterate savage x