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Peggy Honeywell | Honey For Dinner (Agenda Music)
First released two years ago on Santa Cruz label, Galaxia, and in Japan on P-Vine, Honeywell's second album (following the cassette-only 'And Dew Loves You Too') re-emerges on Hertfordshire's Agenda Music (UK home of the Innocence Mission).
Impressively brief at a mere twenty-one minutes, 'Honey for Dinner' is a refreshing antidote to production-heavy singer-songwriter fare (Yorn, Park etc). In a voice of sparkling purity, Honeywell (purportedly a pseudonym for artist Clare Rojas, responsible for the cover art) spins out short, snappy pop songs over electric guitars (occasionally accompanied by David Pajo's banjo), with the emphasis very much on unaffected, straight delivery. The bluesy swagger of Darlin' Man (who she calls her 'tropical mango', bless her), is offset by the charming Moon, which wouldn't have sounded out of place on the first Nina Nastasia album, and such subtle shifts in styles keeps the record from sounding one-dimensional despite Paul Oldham's hands-off production. Whether introducing folk, country or blues elements to her minimalist pop confection, Honeywell's songs are sparse and accessible enough to ring true regardless of guise. Even her home-recorded, amusingly subversive cover of Presley's All Shook Up, (think Scout Niblett's reworking of Uptown Top Ranking), only adds to the appeal.

Matt Dornan
CWAS #13 - Autumn 2003