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Event Info

King Tut's Wah Wah Hut
Doors: 19:30
Age: 14+. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult over 18.
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Real Deal arrives like a sigh at the end of a big feeling. It’s a translation of white knuckles, grinding teeth and fingernails bitten raw: the inner turbulence that wrestles with a calm exterior. You might sit in the corner with your drink, try to lose yourself for hours in front of a screen – but for their second album, Honeyglaze confront it all, digging their fingernails under the scabs. Confrontation and confidence; intensity and catharsis – these are the hard-earned rewards of a band who are ready to reintroduce themselves.   “It was quite reactionary,” reflects vocalist and guitarist Anouska Sokolow. “Musically, we were reacting to the first album thinking, ‘How can we do better?’” Emerging from South London with bassist Tim Curtis and drummer Yuri Shibuichi who completed the picture by illustrating the tensions of her inner world, Honeyglaze grew in a strange time, warped by the pandemic. Brought to light by Dan Carey’s scene-defining label Speedy Wunderground, their 2022 self-titled debut album captured Sokolow’s coming-of-age. Fraught with arresting sincerity and deadpan wit, she announced herself as a singular songwriter who dared to share the parts of ourselves we’d rather hide: creative inadequacy, the fortress built around a closely-guarded heart, and the bad haircuts and bleach-jobs born from unsettled identity.   Written in the awkward limbo between adolescence and adulthood, Honeyglaze felt themselves outgrowing their debut even as they were making it. But from this creative boredom with a sound which fit like a t-shirt two sizes too small, there began a time of radical growth. The foundations of Real Deal were laid in the post-tour hangover, from the unwelcome interruption of the real world and the realities of surviving within it as artists. Sokolow had been contending with a break-up and moving homes; the record was written not in a studio but within the four, trusted walls of her bedroom. During this period of upheaval, she says, “I really think this album was one of the most consistent things in my life.” The band would meet every Wednesday to rehearse and evolve their new material, enjoying the luxury of time to delve into their parts and follow their instincts without intervention.   Lyrically, much of their debut record was written by Sokolow without the intention of it reaching anyone’s ears. Real Deal, however, was made to be heard. It’s serious, this time: the band climb into the ring, gloves up. Recorded with Grammy-nominated producer Claudius Mittendorfer (Parquet Courts, Sorry, Interpol) at a residential studio in the countryside, they were afforded the space - both literally and mentally - to explore new dimensions to their sound on their own terms.   The record, released by the taste-making label Fat Possum, is a translation of the urgency of their live performance. Armed with the experience of a tour under their belts, Shibuichi’s percussion is detonated like explosives on opening track “Hide”, landing like a sucker punch, while Curtis’ bass sections coil the tension to make the chorus feel phenomenally cathartic. “We wanted to express dark feelings not just lyrically, but as a band, through dynamics, distortion, shock and emotion,” explains Curtis. “You want to get all of this out in your music, but you can’t when the songs are too ‘nice’.”   When you dream, there’s an idea that everyone in the dream is you. The storytelling on Real Deal is a departure from the flushed, self-consciousness of their debut to usher in a matured self-awareness. Sokolow writes through a lens of character and costume, exploring people’s minds through vignettes like a presiding narrator – but through this hall of mirrors, she is still the real image.   “Cold Caller” leans into the specifics of fiction while revealing something painfully true about the nature of loneliness and disconnection. Over a meandering rhythm, Sokolow’s narrator becomes infatuated with a cold caller and their false interest. She sings, twisted in polite agony: “I’ll do anything I’m told / Just to know I’m not alone.” Curtis shares of the song, “It’s funny, because it’s a complete dynamic reversal: the last person you’d usually want attention from is a cold caller. Can you imagine how lonely someone must feel if you aren’t getting enough from them? Wishful thinking and delusion determine your reality more than you’d think.”   The band’s command of storytelling also lies with their musical volatility. A rhythm might lull you into a daydream before a whiplash-inducing switch; Sokolow’s voice eases into gentle surrender before being swept by a tide of anxiety. “Drink, I drink my drink”, she sings with deceptive cheerfulness on ‘Pretty Girls’, a self-soothing mantra to get through a social setting where you feel like an imposter. A suppressed confession rises to the surface, sliding down the scale: “But alcohol makes me feel sad, I want nothing to do with that…” Then, an interruption: “Slip, for a second I slip” - the music hangs in suspension, and while you wait for the pieces to fall, a familiar nausea curdles in the pit of your stomach.   There is deliberate tonal shift in the middle as you turn from Side A to Side B. The dam bursts with “Don’t”, a masterwork in tension and release (which, as an attentive listener will realise, draws from the melody of “Bills” by Destiny’s Child). There is a new emotion here, a new sound: rage. Against a backdrop of Shibuichi’s drums which rain down like hellfire and serrated guitars, Sokolow’s conversational delivery takes on a kind of quiet menace. She issues a calm warning, before the tension snaps; the pacing bass is silenced as she boils over into collar-grabbing fury: “Don’t raise your voice and interrupt me when I’m speaking / I’m a person too you know I’ve got things to say I’ve got fucking feelings.”   But what lies beyond this exorcism is relief. Side B takes hold with cinematic instinct, the satisfaction of the calm after you’ve weathered the storm. Wading through murky depths of distortion, “TV” captures the fracture between our reality and warring inward feelings – a contradiction Honeyglaze have always recognised and been faithful to. Sokolow wrote the track after finding comfort in her housemate who would always watch terrestrial TV. “I always envied her confidence to do nothing but sit and watch Grand Designs and not feel guilty about it,” she shares. “My mind races with everything I should be doing: working more, creating more, and I wished I could just watch it with her.” Such is the nature of overthinking: two might appear to be sitting quietly, watching television – but maybe no one is watching television at all.   Real Deal captures the essence of Honeyglaze, if only for a moment. Recorded live, it chases those fleeting moments and attempts to bottle those bolts of lightning. Though they are ever-evolving, what is immovable about the legacy of the record is that it feels like a stride forward in maturity. The secret? Acceptance. The grace that can be found in slipping through the cracks and surrendering to it.

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