It’s so easy to reminisce
A honey coated eye. Two bee coloured birds. Notice how they are perched together in the shape of a triangle? Coincidence? Who knows. Although Pollinator might be part of the Illuminati, their debut album Honeyeaters comes highly recommended. Don’t take my word for it. 5FM DJ, Catherine Grenfell christens the album as “flipping incredible” And Sias Olckers, Guitarist of Sheldon Payne, The Blue Veins & Former number 1 chart topper on TUKS FM describes it as “audible chocolate.”
If you’re not familiar with Pollinator, get acquainted and read about them here. In short, they’re a Johannesburg based Alternative Rock Band and comprises of Evert Snyman (vocals, guitar), Louise Eksteen (vocals, bass), and Tim Edwards (vocals, drums). In addition to Pollinator, Evert also plays drums for The Deaf Commission, and Tim plays drums for The Tazers.
Honeyeaters was launched on the 9th October 2015, and as a promo, was made free to download on their Bandcamp page for an entire week after its release. The album was recorded, mixed and mastered at the Backline – a sound studio owned and managed by Evert Snyman and Louise Eksteen.
Being a little more than a year old, Pollinator as a three-piece band is still fairly new to the music scene. However, their determination to break through sets them aside and their hive has started to ooze. Pollinator’s first single, “Motivational Speaker”, reached number 1 on the TUKS FM Top 30, and they have already opened for major acts such as Van Coke Kartel. That being said, they are becoming favourites at The Bohemian and will be playing the Psych Stage at the Halloween 2015 JHB event brought to you by Arcade Empire, Griet, and Battalion.
“Keep-Her” introduces the album with a grungy guitar riff, familiar in the sense that it is savage. A beat is hurled into the mix, trashing away into the ether. Rude. Unspoilt. The energy is intoxicating. The drive, even more so. Evert builds on the rise and tears off into a solo as if he’s contending against the drums. There is a change in the distortion – a black and golden drone, buzzing through the scales, climbing in search of pollen.
The build subsides without losing the urge of the prelude. Evert’s vocals, as it is structured, become the centre of attention. God was a girl / spreading awe and terror / the mother of the world / she was revered and feared. Louise joins the verse, adding an element of thrill with her feminine air, affirming, as it were, the voice of the mother of the world. The chorus comes into play and is shared between Evert and Louise. Creator and the keeper / of the universe / creator and the keeper / Yeeeaaah! At once a cry leads us back to the carnage that was introduced in the prelude.
“Duped” is my favourite song on Honeyeaters. The subject matter is most fitting for an album that seems to dwell on the past, whether it revolves around a lost lover or the assertion that God was a girl. The lyrics seem to come from a bitter resolution – the result of a broken heart. You’re someone else’s puppet now / another tragedy for you to cry about / when it gets tough you’ll just chicken out / because illusions make you feel free.
Coming down, the chorus rings true into a chord progression that is accentuated by Evert’s voice as he harmonises a painstaking reality. Everything is as it should be / sometimes it’s hard to see / the more you try to resist / the more you can’t get out of it – a verdict that is common amongst lost love, yet also the first step in realising and acknowledging that the situation won’t change. Do not resist, accept and make peace with the pain instead.
The song ends with certain arrogance, however it seems to be justified. People are rarely the culmination of their first impressions and the lover acknowledges this. He takes pride in knowing he’s been through worse. I’m really gonna miss / who I thought you were / but I guess I’ve been through worse / it’s so easy to reminisce.
“Shimmering Gold” closes the album and deviates from the rest of the track list by being less aggressive, more toned down and easy going for the most part. It’s a slow song with a lazy groove and sways between moods, being sweet one moment and sombre the next. Louise does an excellent job of vocalising this contradiction. The verse is typically sad but sung with honeyed affection. I’ve been hiding in the shadows / waiting for love to come / whistling to keep me company / tracing the lines to fit my shape perfectly.
When the chorus comes, the shift in tone takes full swing. The guitar changes from overjoyed to underjoyed, and although the lyrics are supposed to carry a notion of victory, it is sung with gloom and melancholy. You’re my champion / and I’m yours / You’re my champion / and I’m yours. However sad it may seem, it’s still beautiful. The love found in those lines becomes true and convincing based on the premise that it has been through a lot, and that it will keep going no matter what.
I believe that willpower is inherent in Pollinator. Although they may seem deranged in their Facebook videos, they have come a long way from the likes of Black Pimpin’ Jesus and White Noise. Their love for music coupled with their unyielding wish to be musicians has allowed them to break through into the local music scene. That break doesn’t come easy, and I’m sure they’re well aware of it. After all, it’s so easy to reminisce.