Don't let the dude guitarist in the band's Facebook profile picture fool you. While Ryan Beebe (late of the Dead Hensons and Gomorran Social Aid and Pleasure Club) and drummer Mouse are solid and true, The Bitter Honeys are all about the frontladies, Cris Armijo (Outline Kit), Sara Gambina-Belknap (Gamelan Sekar Jaya), and Erica Johnson (Dead Hensons). Though their big hair, matching outfits (handmade by Armijo, aka Cristalette), dulcet harmonies, and the bittersweet nature of their songs are decidedly girl-group retro, the Honeys have just enough modern touches to escape the novelty band trap. Tiny Gambina-Belknap straps a ginormous bass over her glitzy dresses, and many of the band's originals belie a 21st-century self-awareness, making the connecting lines between the Shangri-Las and Sleater-Kinney far more apparent. The handful of obscure but tastefully appropriate covers are nearly indistinguishable from the originals, proving that this band knows its musical history just as well as it knows how to make the medicine of heartbreak go down sweet and easy.
© 2016 East Bay Express