The Submarines – Honeysuckle Weeks

The Submarines
Honeysuckle Weeks

It’s not hard to believe that The Submarines, the amorous duo of John Dragonetti and Blake Hazard, hail from sunny, Southern California. Their sophomore album, Honeysuckle Weeks, contains 10 tracks of smart indie-rock coated with light and airy synth-based melodies over polished bass lines and breezy guitar strums that are well suited for a drive to the beach with the windows down and the volume up.

The vocals take center stage on most tracks and revolve around Hazard’s silky, honey-toned voice that draws similarities to the sultry tones of The Delgados’ Emma Pollock and the cheeky cooing of Lily Allen. Dragonetti occasionally adds complimentary banter for some good-natured boy/girl interplay. The multi-textured vocals are both soothing and captivating and do not so much conform to the music but rather help effectuate the mood.

The music itself is not only sunny and bright, but rich and full with strains of 80’s rock running through the melodic and catchy electro-pop. Sparkling guitar lines, subtle electronic effects, chimes and bells are added in charming style throughout. “You Me and the Bourgeoise” has a little sharper edge thanks to a Clash-inspired beat and electric guitars, while “The Wake Up Song” uses a New Order-like bass riff to bolster the shimmering pop and “Swimming Pool” includes a sprightly chorus reminiscent of the Tom Tom Club. A few tracks mirror the creative and playful indie-rock sounds of Stars and The Shins, but the sonic thriller comes in “1940”, a darker, dub-style reggae-influenced tune that is slick and cool and a unique twist which also appears in lighter form later in the track list on “Fern Beard”.

Listening to Honeysuckle Weeks is like browsing through a musical variety store whose shelves are stocked with playful, shiny and creative indie-pop. A frothy sheen adorns the keen songwriting as The Submarines glide smoothly through various styles that are always easy on the ears, thanks not only to The Submarines’ ability to craft pleasing pop tunes, but to the smooth vocals, ultimately resulting in a pleasurable musical experience.