Tag Archives: Amanda Anne Platt

Revisiting the Honeycutters’ Self-Titled Album

Back in June, I reviewed the new self-titled release from Amanda Anne Platt & the Honeycutters. While I thought it was a pretty decent record with some standout songs, there was one major problem. It was mid-tempo and somber all the way through, and I made the comment that it would sound better in October, even advising people to only listen to specific songs at the time. It’s a release that, while I could see its potential, wasn’t right for June. There’s a certain mood around it, started with the opening song where Amanda Platt sings about the days getting colder and fall setting in, that just didn’t work in the summer.

So I did what I advised everyone else to do; I waited until the fall to listen to it again. I’ve revisited some songs, but I waited till now to really absorb the entire album again. And if you’re wondering why it’s November and not October, well, when it’s still 90 degrees in Oklahoma in October, there’s not really a fall atmosphere. But now autumn has finally found its way here, at least for the moment, and just as those colder days are better suited for pumpkin and vanilla candles than for island scents, they also bring about different atmospheres for music. Artists tend to release more serious music during this time, and indeed, my initial sentiment was that this record should have come out right about now.

So after listening to it again? This album is definitely better this time of year. There were quite a few little details I missed in the songwriting the first few times around that I absorbed now because frankly, I wasn’t nearly as bored. The mid-tempo songs throughout the record dragged this album down in June, but they just serve to make this relaxing now. Amanda Anne Platt remains one of the better vocalists in independent music, a fact I noted when I reviewed this, but more careful listening also reveals her talent as a songwriter and melodic composer. The mood is more introspective than somber as you start to really absorb the lyrics, and some of these songs are even quite joyous. The thing is, even when she’s content, on songs like “Rare Thing” and “Birthday Song,” the atmosphere created by the production still seems a bit melancholy. But Amanda Platt is actually content for much of this record, a fact you begin to uncover as you dig deeper into the lyrics. Actually, “Rare Thing” is one I underappreciated the first time, probably because it is toward the end of the record and started blending in to all the other mid-tempo stuff. But it’s a good example of a song that really stood out in a different way for me this time around.

This has pretty much gone from a decent, but kind of boring record at times to a rather pleasant, relaxing listen. It wasn’t right in the summer, but now, it’s working pretty well. Had it come out now it would have gotten a light 8 from me instead of the hesitant 7 it received back in June. So, if you’re someone who listens to different types of music based on their mood and gravitates toward different sounds in different seasons, I invite you to revisit this. If you found this boring or lacking energy the first time, well, it still doesn’t have a ton of energy, but it’s far from boring. You just need the right atmosphere and frame of mind to appreciate it.

P.S. “Eden” and “The Guitar Case” are still fantastic songs.

Album Review: Amanda Anne Platt & the Honeycutters (self-titled)

Rating: 7/10

All right, so I’m not overly familiar with The Honeycutters, and some people in this situation like to take a little time before such a release to listen to past albums and perhaps familiarize themselves more with a band or artist, but for me, I enjoy just staying ignorant and getting to know the artist through the new record. I know a few Honeycutters songs, but I’ve never listened to one of their albums, and for me, this is an opportunity to see if the new album can make me a fan. They’ve changed themselves to Amanda Anne Platt & the Honeycutters–and kept the Honeycutters part simply for less confusion–but that’s just simply long to write, so I’ll stick with just the Honeycutters mostly.

So after listening, yes, I’m definitely enjoying this group, and Amanda Anne Platt is a fine vocalist and wordsmith. There are some great songs here too, which I’ll get to, but first, I do have one giant criticism of the album as a whole, and I usually don’t like to start reviews off negatively, but this has to be said. This entire album is going to sound better in October. It’s got fall/winter vibes, and it’s just not a record I want to pull out in June and listen to. The opener, “Birthday song,” even mentions the fall, and it just puts you in that frame of mind, and you never leave. It’s mid-tempo all the way through too, so there’s never really any upbeat, summery atmosphere, and I just can’t help but wonder why on earth they released this album right at the beginning of summer. It would probably rate higher than a 7 in October, and hell, it will probably be one of the albums that grows on me throughout the year. So please, I encourage you, if this album bores you or puts you in a somber mood, pull it out again in October.

That said, even though I can’t really listen to this record as a whole right now, there are some really standout songs. There is a moment in the heart of the album where you have three incredible songs in a row in “Eden,” “The Guitar Case,” and “Learning How to Love Him.” I keep replaying these three. “Eden” tells of the hardships of a family living in the heartland of Indiana; the woman has lost her job and is struggling to get by each day with her kids. It’s unclear whether she is divorced or widowed. The hook here is astounding–I say, please, let me back inside the garden. I won’t eat anything that’s fallen from that goddamned tree.” It’s not where I thought this was going, and it’s interesting because it alludes to the fact that original sin brought all this on, or at least that this character thinks so. “The Guitar Case” seems to be autobiographical and describes Amanda Platt’s struggles as a singer–“You can do what you love, or you can go to hell.” The melody in this one is also really nice and adds to the song, along with some nice piano, which I should mention is an instrument used pretty liberally by this group and which I enjoy. Brianna pointed out recently that it’s not used enough in country, and she’s 100% right. Then there’s “Learning How to Love Him,” which was written for Platt’s friend about her struggles to love her husband all the years they were married; now suddenly he’s terminal, and she finally understands what love truly means, and nothing else matters. If you listen to these three, particularly right in a row, and don’t come away with respect for the songwriting of Amanda Platt, I’d be shocked.

There are a couple of other nice moments too, like in the love songs “Rare Thing” and “What We’ve Got.” The latter sees Platt confronting her selfish past and finally being glad that she can appreciate love instead of wanting everyone to want her; it’s quite a mature, honest way to present a love song, calling herself “ugly and unkind.” “The Good Guys” is another good one trying to convince a man to do the right thing and buy the woman he loves a ring and start a life together. There’s more piano here, and once again, the melody really enhances the song. Actually, a lot of the songs are quite good on their own, it’s just that they run together in album form. As I said before, there needs to be more of a variety in tempo, and there’s also some unnecessary, frankly boring filler on this thirteen-track record. “Diamond in the Rough” is the best example of a track they could have just left off.

Overall, this is a nice, pleasant listen. Amanda Anne Platt is a pretty great singer, which isn’t always the case in Americana music, and she does a great job bringing out the emotion in tracks like “Learning How to Love Him” and “Eden.” There are some really well-written songs too, and the instrumentation and melodies work well with the songs. There’s some filler, but the main problem is just that it’s a fall album. IN October, I might give this an 8.5, but it’s just too mid-tempo and sleepy right now in June. So, I recommend checking it out, listening to some songs, and then coming back to the album in say, four or five months.

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