Artist: Virgins Family Band
Genre: Rock, Indie, Experimental
For fans of: Dirty Projectors, As Tall As Lions, Melpo Mene
Experimental rock quintet Virgins Family Band was previously known in high school by the straight-forward cognomen VIRGINS. It’s hard to say where they lost the name but we’ll assume that it was consensual.
After a pair of VIRGINS bedroom EPs, some overflowed hometown shows, three bicycle tours, and adopting some pretty impressive individual nicknames — e.g. Turkish Gold, Blues Explosion, and my personal favorite, Tough Shit — Virgins Family Band is pleased to release their newest effort, Honeylion, on February 8. The album was recorded at Nightsound Studios in Carrboro, North Carolina and was mixed and mastered by Aviv Marotz. Honeylion also contains exquisite animal-themed artwork done by Ellis Driver and VFB drummer Gabriel Anderson.
Honeylion is relatively brief, coming in at just 31 minutes, but with a mere 8 tracks to explore, the length is excusable, especially due to its content. The album spans a range of sounds rooted and stemmed from smooth jazz and indie rock influences found prevalent throughout which are fused with the beautifully capable vocal approach of frontman Saman Khoujinian. This elegant combination makes for a very relaxing and rewarding listen. The album’s opener, “Moon Breath,” is an excellent indicator of the band’s aforementioned qualities and what Honeylion has to offer beyond it.
Tracks like “Eyes Like Troubled Dreams” — which you can stream and download post-review — and “Farah” provide refreshingly original takes on accessible and familiarly structured indie pop sounds. “Farah,” as well as Honeylion‘s second offering, “Well Aware,” aren’t only two of the strongest tracks to grace the album, but they are two tracks that will certainly make you want to bailar. This is likely due in part to the talented Latin fusion percussion stylings of drummers Gabriel Anderson and Phil Hamilton — yes, two drummers!
Much of Honeylion‘s being has a strong vocal focus and in a small way overshadows the potential of its instrumentation, which at times can be a shame as it may ultimately distract and leave the notable musical prowess of all members unnoticed, if for only those select tracks. Apart from that very minor muddle, Honeylion is about as enjoyable as a name like Honeylion would lead you to suspect. It’s a very solid contribution from these southeastern up-and-comers and if it’s any sign of what they can expand on and accomplish in the future, we certainly look forward to the furthered career of Virgins Family Band.
Review written by: Brian Lion – Follow him on Twitter