CD Review of Sunshine Committee by Honeydogs
Honeydogs: Sunshine Committee
Recommended if you like
Young Fresh Fellows, Wilco,
Velvet Crush
Label
Princess Records
Honeydogs:
Sunshine Committee

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

M
innesota has played an essential, if largely unheralded, role in birthing great artists. Dylan is a Minnesota son, as is the elusive Prince, both of whom tend to overshadow their lesser-known brethren the Honeydogs, inhabitants of Minneapolis and persistent pop staples for the better part of the past 15 years. However, despite a string of exemplary albums – 1995’s self-titled debut, the admirable Everything, I Bet You, their major label set Seen a Ghost, and ample offerings for the new millennium Here’s Luck, 10,000 Years, Island of Misfits and Amygdala, the best they can manage in terms of widespread recognition is the fact that one of their former members, Noah Levy, plays a role in the sometime supergroup Golden Smog. Indeed, that’s sad commentary on a band that possesses so much vitality and invigoration and remains so devoted to the precepts of pure pop.

So credit the band with carrying on and exercising their musical options even if most of the world continues to turn away. Fortunately for the uninitiated, there’s still ample opportunity to catch up, thanks to a recent spurt of activity that includes a children’s album from the band’s de facto leader Adam Levy – perkily titled Bunny Clogs – an instrumental effort released last year, I Can’t Feel the Beating, and this new EP, resiliently dubbed Sunshine Committee. While some fans may be disappointed with its brevity, all six songs measure up to the best the band has ever offered, proving a welcome reminder of why the Honeydogs deserve, and indeed demand, wider acclaim.

If the EP’s name seems somewhat sunny in a psychedelic sort of way, there’s good reason. The majority of these songs deliberately reference retro influences, and given the ample doses of déjà vu, the familiarity factor is sufficiently fueled. Consequently, several selections offer opportunity to sound check the sources of inspiration, from the ragged sway and swagger of the title track, which recalls the debauched Stones circa their Exile era, to the catchy guitar riff that intros "Balaclava" while bringing to mind a Beatles riff that sounds as if it was appropriated from Revolver. So too, "Levers, Pulleys & Pumps" might otherwise be mistaken for an outtake from Electric Ladyland just as "Stash" funks up the proceedings a la Sly and the Family Stone.

Inevitably, there’s a lesson in all this and though it may not be deliberate, the point is clear regardless. The Honeydogs worship all things rock ‘n’ roll, and given the evidence displayed herein, their depth of devotion couldn’t be clearer.

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