After five more spins around the sun, kai bravewood follows their 2017 album Waterfront Kids with a third (even sweeter) full-length release, The Honey Tape. This record is a handful of glimmering, hot, sticky, sentimental feels. A heap of emotions to graciously keep your company.
kai bravewood’s The Honey Tape is the last raging tangerine-to-violet light beams of a sunset. It’s the catharsis of screaming tears bleeding into laughter. It’s the ache of smiling so big your face hurts. It’s the weightlessness of sinking into a tight hug. The Honey Tape hits you with highly concentrated, ultra sweet, 36-minutes of euphoria and the biggest and brightest of big, bright feelings — though, the album does document instances of dark moments as well.
The saturated crashes and peaks are truly “about losing identity and gaining autonomy” — in the words of the duo themselves. They go on to add “it’s about giving up an obsession with control and allowing yourself to ask for help. It’s about accepting mistakes and being more comfortable in your body and person. It’s about forgiving yourself and moving forward.”
The juxtaposition of my vapid and lush connotations against kai bravewood’s genuine in-depth explanation of meaning displays that within this album’s crystalized candy shell, there is vulnerability fixed to every track.
Some songs, such as “Breeze” and “Self Validation” delve into harsh moments of hurt, and what could even be described as destructive coping mechanisms. kai bravewood divulges these recollections, not to romanticize them, but to demonstrate their reality and seriousness. As I read the lyrics for the first time, trying to give this album the context-filled review it deserves, tears fell onto my phone screen. The songs on this album flood to the corners of your heart that ordinarily feel all alone — granting companionship. Heartache takes infinite nuanced forms, yet every single iteration can lend comfort to another. This is an instance of that.
The album flows from themes of running and anger, to passion and reflection. Every one of those sections envelopes impassioned moments inside of cushiony soft velvet auditory encasing.
It’s the cutest lil art-pop record you could ever wish for and, by knowing even the littlest bit about the duo that is kai bravewood, it’s no question how they spawned such a beautiful project. These two angels sprinkled a pinch of ethereal goodness in with some synth sounds, at-times horny yet always endearing lyrics, a spoonful of tenderness and SOPHIE-esqe spice and there you have it — that’s the recipe. In all honesty, I lack the music production knowledge to aptly encapsulate how incredibly well conceived this project is, but I do know that it is a sparkling jewel. The duo (along with Hamb Sun, who makes a lovely feature on fan fave track “Nectar”) stuffed every bit of this album with vibrance. It is a sweet, passionate, honest, tender masterpiece and a crystal clear reflection of those who created it. — Maya Preshyon