Album Review: Beach Bunny – “Honeymoon”

Posted: by The Editor

Sunny Chicago quartet Beach Bunny knew exactly what they were doing when they set to release their debut record, Honeymoon, on Valentine’s Day. Whereas their 2018 EP Prom Queen was saturated in the anxieties of toxic beauty standards and grappling with your ever-fading youth, Honeymoon dips its toes in a different pool of anxieties. In fact, it topples over the subconscious balance between dreams and nightmares in the lens of love. On the positives, it follows the rose-colored hue of a relationship. The eternal flame that can keep growing if both parties are trying for that spark. But the negatives lies in the risks that love can corner you into. It’s the fear of the unknown and allowing yourself to strip bare in hopes that the feeling is reflected in their eyes. Beach Bunny’s Honeymoon isn’t a sugar-coated account of lead singer, Lilli Trifilio’s, love story. It is a realistic portrait of what a relationship consists of, never shying away of the harder truths of love that revolve around being frustrating, heartbreaking, unstable, and terrifying. 

Trifilio was once quoted in an interview saying that one can listen to Honeymoon “from the top to the bottom for a happy story or in reverse for a bleaker narrative.” Allowing the record to ruminate between the grey spaces of what a listener might be going through, it seems to be a smart play to provide an overarching storyline that can be utilized for either the blossoming of love or the heartbreak that can result. This can bleed into the opener of the album, “Promises.” In this track, you hear Trifilio recount the memory of a past relationship. It feels as though she is anchored to this memory, and it keeps revealing itself like a “reoccurring dream.” It begins in familiar Beach Bunny territory with a slow but biting foundation. The gentle music overlaid Trifilio’s raw vocals aiken to Liz Phair steadily builds until it unleashes an addictive, weezer-esque chorus, “Part of me still wants you. Part of me wants to fall asleep” that embodies all the good that Weezer pumps into their peaks. This isn’t the only track that marries the group’s sunny-side punk with Weezer-inspo as hints of this crunchy sound glitters across “Cuffing Season,” “Colorblind,” and “Ms. California.”  

“April” is much more laidback in production. Mimicking the groove of surf-rock, it is difficult not to immediately start humming along as Trifilio’s voice bumbles over the instruments. A quirky ode to the blossoming insecurities that arise from soured relationships, it sounds as if she is desperately floating around in an oppressive fishbowl aching for that other person. She declares, “Sometimes I just want somebody. Someone that reminds me that they’ll always love me. Sick of counting tears” that is downright relatable to anyone who has experienced any sort of heartbreak in their lives. “Racetrack” portrays itself as a haunting piano-driven song. Sounding as if the musical landscape could be featured in an old-school video game, it stands out against its peers even through its quiet tone. When “Rearview” enters the stage, we find Trifilio stepping out behind the mask of memories she has been hiding behind. A personal favorite, the track shows a completely different side to Beach Bunny’s talents. Providing an emotionally harrowing declaration that feels like a rockier version of A Fine Frenzy song, “You loved me. I loved you. You don’t love me anymore. I still do,” it’s difficult not to find a piece of yourself in the tune.

If you’re listening from top to bottom, the closer of the record provides a soft-landing strip as Trifilio dreamily sings about being on “Cloud 9.” The lower rumbles of guitar alongside a husky drumbeat and slick basslines, you can feel Trifilio finding her balance once again. She is no longer sifting through a nightmare, ricocheting thoughts all throughout her brain. Ironically, she is coming back down to earth as she finds herself on cloud 9. She’s been able to dissect all the bumps and bruises that has scattered her heart over the course of the relationship, but ultimately knows deep down that her partner will “always be her favorite form of loving.” 

On Honeymoon, Beach Bunny doesn’t follow a cookie-cutter template of how to document love. Instead, they give a raw and vulnerable insight on what is often overlooked when discussing relationships in art. This record extends its hand out, formerly inviting you to evade Trifilio’s personal love story, and if it wasn’t for the ever-energized musical landscape and Trifilio’s excellent lyrical prowess, Honeymoon wouldn’t hit as hard as it does. For this to act as the group’s debut full-length, it proves that they are all the bark and all the bite that they’re destined to continue cultivating for years to come. 

Disappointing / Average / Good / GreatPhenomenal

Hope Ankley / @Hope_ankleknee

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