Some Time, Alone is the third album from Gothenburg’s Pale Honey and it marks their move from being a duo with Tuva Lodmark (vocals, guitar) and Nelly Daltrey (drums) to becoming a trio by bringing Anders Lagerfors (bass, synths) into the band. Anders has been contributing to the band as a musician and producer for years as well as touring with them on bass. Whether it’s the addition of Anders bringing the ‘power of 3’, or the natural progression of being more self-assured when you get to your third album, Some Time, Alone is less about being fragile and affected by the world and more about taking a stand; what they call a little “shut up and leave me alone”. This would explain the fact that the songs took shape in a forest cabin in Småland before recording began at Nacksving Studios in their hometown of Gothenburg.
The title track opens the album and ‘Some Time, Alone’ is anchored in the union of drums and bass with a rhythmic vocal line and susurrations of reverbed guitar, This is followed by the epic optimism of ‘Treat You Good’ filled with Giorgio Moroder-like marshmallow sequencing which bookends switched up sections of razor wire guitar. Swelling tides of chords wash sweetness into dream-pop songs like ‘Friends’ and ‘Heaven Knows I’ve Gone Too Far’ which are infused with a candyfloss mist that avoids being cloyingly sweet. But one of the great tropes of a Pale Honey song is the way they use simple, but compelling phrases, on which to hang a tune. This is particularly evident on ‘Beat Me’, which shows off the melancholy-tinged warmth of Lodmark’s vocals as they rise in volume and power as the song expands to its close, and ‘Bad Thing’, where bass and guitar double in a conjoined, staccato riff that gradually builds throughout the song while the vocals are like the delicate footsteps of a teenager trying to sneak out of the house after curfew. This tip-toing is eventually brought to an explosive conclusion (like the moment on a rollercoaster when you ascend in darkness before hurtling out into the sunlight and a gut-wrenching drop) before dropping back to the temperate riff. This is a standout on the album, as is ‘Killer Scene’, which follows a ticking guitar line with a heroic chorus of roaring reverb, guitar wails and an almost operatic vocal line. ‘Set Me Free’ channels New Order with a driving drum pattern and bass line with another explosive chorus, squelchy synth-bass but this monster tune cedes to the last two tracks on the album which act as warm down on the reflective ‘Trouble Is The Only Thing I Know’ and closer ‘3 AM’ with an almost naive guitar line and tremulous vocal line which perfectly captures the insomniac thought processes of a love in turmoil.
No third album lull, just another glorious set of perfectly cut diamonds. Pale Honey make music like the aperture of a camera. They can make small, pinhole like sounds which bring the instruments in close, creating a conspiratorial pact with the listener, or throw open the aperture, let the light in and throw open the 5×4 frame to reveal an expansive vista. Those moments are like opening your arms out wide only to discover you have wings and you’re able to fly.
Review by Paul F Cook