MusicRecord Reviews

Honeychild: Surrender Review

Athens-based pop project Honeychild—the brainchild of longtime local songwriter SJ Ursrey—follows up last year’s warm, wispy American Beach with another heavily themed collection, having traveled “from the shore to the prom,” according to the band. The clubby, cagey Surrender is a new-wave nostalgia trip through and through, ear candy for ’70s and ’80s babies on a throwback binge.

The album is lush and gorgeous, though it is also often unsettling. Upbeat opener “Make Out” is a synth-pop gem, a future-party mixtape staple that sets a misleading pace: As things progress, angst bubbles up. On American Beach, sunny sonics shed light on heartbreak and pain. Restlessness likewise pervades Surrender, as evidenced by “I Knew,” a brutally ambivalent, grey-sky love song, one of my favorite local tracks of the year.

As has been the case with much of his recent work, including the latest from Dream Boat (a group with which Ursrey is also involved), engineer Suny Lyons is the album’s secret star. Lyons’ chasmic, synth-heavy studioscapes are impossibly dense but never overbearing; I can’t think of another local producer who can claim as precise a sonic identity. Neither he nor Honeychild has ever sounded better than here.

Honeychild plays Hendershot’s Coffee Bar on Sunday, Dec. 7.


  • AthFest is Canceled This Year as Coronavirus Spreads

    As the coronavirus continues to spread illness and unease throughout Georgia and the U.S., Athens suffers a significant cultural and economic blow as organizers have announced the cancellation of...
  • Five Acts to See at Ad·Verse Fest

    With an eclectic approach that mines the space between music, visual and performance art, Ad·verse Fest features an exciting, queer-centric lineup of scrappy newcomers and more road-tested acts, many...
  • Shane Parish & Sean Dail

    With the innovative North Carolina band Ahleuchatistas, guitarist Shane Parish pushed the boundaries of the early-’00s math-rock scene by incorporating international influences, as well as a healthy dose of...
  • Ruston Kelly, Valley Queen

    Specializing in a twangy, earnest brand of Americana he famously dubbed “dirt emo” in 2018, singer-songwriter Ruston Kelly made good on the term’s promise last year with the release...