The Honey Pot with Crystal Jacqueline – ‘An Introduction To’ (2024)

Uncategorized April 2, 2024

The Honey Pot with Crystal Jacqueline – ‘An Introduction To’ (2024)

The Honey Pot is a Devon, U.K.-based collective of psychedelicized kindred spirits who’ve been playing and recording together in various formations for the past 15 years or so.

At their core are songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Icarus Peel and vocalist/keyboardist Crystal Jacqueline. Those two have been performing together for ages and have released a smattering of albums, EPs,, singles, contributions to compilations, etc. both in and outside of this umbrella band. They made their first long player as The Honey Pot in 2012.This compilation is comprised of 13 tracks handpicked by Peel and Jacqueline, three of them seeing release for the first time.

The band self-describes as being one that plays “a blend of ‘60s psyche that has its boots in the past but its head in the future,” and that draws on “unique English inheritance of the surreal and the strange, but not afraid to indulge in American West Coast-style adventure.” Indeed. Across the baker’s dozen of selections on the compilation, their sound is both propulsive and dreamy, hard-driving and floral. Listening along takes you on an auditory excursion characterized by bewitching vocals bolstered by hammering instrumental support heavily awash in wah-wah.

As someone new to the group, I was initially enticed by some of the songs they cover here. If someone’s going to play a set that includes things like The Kinks’s ‘Shangri-La,’ Fleur Des Lys’s ‘Tick Tock,’ Strawberry Alarm Clock’s ‘Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow,’ etc, sure, I’ll listen (and they get extra points for not just doing the obvious ‘Circles’ and ‘Incense and Peppermints’ by the latter two acts mentioned). After hearing their take on the Kinks’ cut from Arthur, with Jacqueline’s assured vocals and the band’s swirling backing, I was sold and wanted more.

Cover versions make up over half of the tracks on this collection and are the highlights of the album. What’s immediately striking is they don’t set out to merely faithfully mimic the originals. They bring their signature duality of flowers and bombast to their renditions of others’ material, creating their own space in the doing.In addition to the above-mentioned covers, a standout track from this set is their version of ‘Sympathy,’ originally done by late ‘60s/early ‘70s proggy act Rare Bird. The Honey Pot pay homage to this aching, soaring song while putting their own majestic imprint on what it brings to a listener. Their version of Mighty Baby’s “Egyptian Tomb” is another keeper.

Among the handful of originals on offer here, the standout is “Love is Green.” Authored by Peel and sung by Jacqueline, it encompasses all the best features of the outfit’s approach. It’s a song that’s both pastoral and churning, gentle yet containing warnings. It sounds like something you might hear at an occult festival just after you’ve had your tarot cards read and your face and body painted. It’s enrapturing. 

The Honey Pot sounds and feels like satin pillows, effects pedals freakouts, sensual sorcery, pagan rituals, and sun-kissed SoCal harmonies meeting up with brain-melting English fairy tales. This introduction to their recognizable yet unique psychedelic sanctum is just the thing to get one acquainted with what they do.

Brian Greene

The Honey Pot with Crystal Jacqueline – ‘An Introduction To’ (Fruits De Mer Records, out April 22, 2024)

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