Honne’s rise has been quite something. In the space of just over a year and a bit, their debut album took them to unstoppable heights that most new bands could only dream of - with an enticing and infectious cannon of hooks in their back pockets. It took them to a natural following, of immediate size that catapulted them to big stages. With that in mind, the follow up to that breakthrough success, ‘Love Me / Love Me Not’, is an album of daring bravado and ambition, filled with a confidence to take things bigger and bolder with the knowledge that thousands are eagerly awaiting what they do next. Split across two sides (a daytime and nightime sequence of tracks) one thing remains clear, Honne are thriving with where they find themselves now.
From start to finish, there’s warmth and wide-eyed ease with what they do. That shuffling party atmosphere rings through on the Tom Misch-featuring ‘Me & You’, the chiming electro of ‘I Might’ and ‘Day 1’ - with earworms that make themselves firmly at home from the first note. It’s an ease and ability that’s quite astonishing, making it a record that’s unbelievably easy to get wrapped in. When it pushes, the results are staggering - ‘I Got You’ is an auto-tuned summer glee that could sit on Calvin Harris’ last album and sound perfect, the gospel heights that they pushed on the first album returns with ‘Feels So Good’ and ‘I Just Wanna Go Back’ always reaching higher and higher levels of devotion and then in the sizzling grooves of the second half of the album ‘Location Unknown’ and ‘Crying Over You’ feel cathartic. It’s an unabashed moment where a band throw everything at it, bolstered in knowing that they’re onto something universal - just take a look at ‘Sometimes’ which could easily be a Coldplay stadium filler and nobody would bat an eyelid.
Honne have reached levels that took many by surprise, undoubtedly them included. Those big stages however have left their mark - and there’s not many records that sound so confident and emboldened in what they’re delivering as much as ‘Love Me / Love Me Not’. Not content with where they are now, it’s an album of swooning immediacy and the perfect soundtrack of the disorientating days and confusing nights in city life. Under it all, is humanity and wanting to achieve joy - and Honne have captured that perfectly.