Four years. That’s how long California dreamy pop duo The Honey Trees’ debut LP has been in the making. Such a careful, diligent, even leisurely pace is virtually unheard of in today’s music landscape, where the hype machine churns ever faster. But The Honey Trees weren’t looking for hype; they were looking for magic. And magic takes time.
With Bright Fire, Becky Filip and Jacob Wick finally cast their charm. Ambling and melodic, The Honey Trees’ latest collection of songs conjures a world filled with golden-hour sunlight and meadows echoing with birdsong. The lyrics, rich with imagery of the natural world, are nestled in warm, lush production from Jeremy Larson, (Mutemath, Sleeping At Last, Switchfoot, Sucre) with whom the band spent a month recording in Springfield, MO, last year. “He essentially took our music to another world,” the band says of Larson. “He helped us achieve the magical, dreamy, otherworldliness we always strive for when writing music.”
Building on the songwriting skill and bell-clear voices they showcased in their 2009 EP, Wake the Earth, (recorded with The Civil Wars producer, Charlie Peacock) The Honey Trees have grown into a fuller sound, embellishing tracks like the mournful “Siren” with cascading strings and populating Bright Fire with little bursts of horns and other trimmings. As always, however, the vocals are the backbone of every song, with Becky’s crystalline voice sharing duties with Jacob’s smooth tenor and effortless falsetto as they explore themes of love and loss.
Bright Fire is a big-hearted, generous album. And it’s no wonder. Everything The Honey Trees do is a labor of love — from the songs they craft “to let people know they’re cared for no matter what,” to their merch and album art, which Becky, an illustrator, and Jacob, a graphic designer, make themselves. The magic they poured into Bright Fire may have been a long time coming, but it was worth the wait. The Honey Trees are enchanting.