With a punky, urgent energy and a catchy indie-pop aesthetic, it’s not difficult to hear that Beach Bunny attract a broad demographic to their live shows. “Emo punk kids that love to mosh and crowd-surf, indie-rockers that you would expect to listen to Beach Bunny and young girl fans that love TikTok” this is Lili Trifilio’s observation from the stage when gazing out across her band’s gathered masses, (for the uninitiated TikTok is an app that allows users to lip-sync to their favourite songs, to then post online. It’s essentially the modern-day version of singing into your bedroom mirror with a hairbrush but, you know, on the internet). The four piece’s song, ‘Prom Queen’ has been adopted by a legion of fans, amassing 450,000 videos on the app (and 33 million listens on Spotify) with many devotees flippantly poking fun at dumb beauty standards and the pressures of being perfect “shut up/count your calories/I never looked good in mom jeans” mime the group’s fans to a faceless audience of millions.
All these facets have helped the Chicago outfit gather a head of steam that’s helped create their debut LP ‘Honeymoon’, out 14th February, Valentine’s Day no less; an album dedicated to the ebb and flow of love during the honeymoon period of a relationship. It’s been said by Beach Bunny’s protagonist, that the record “can be listened to from the top to the bottom for a happy story, or in reverse for a bleaker narrative”. However, the actual listening experience is the opposite, with opening track “Promises” finding Trifilio struggling with a conflict of feelings that centre around dejection “part of me still wants you/part of me wants to fall asleep/part of me still hates you/how could you love someone and leave” as a punchy indie-punk sound switches from quiet to loud and somewhere in between during the track’s lifespan. While ‘Honeymoon’s penultimate and final tracks swell with a loving feeling; ‘Dream Boy’s jangled, yet urgent DNA has the band’s vocalist pouring her soul out with unabashed glee “you’ve got my heart bursting at the seams/maybe you’re the boy of my dreams.” While closing track ‘Cloud 9’s jaunty wares explode like a confetti canon, with a message of loving connection “when I tumble from the sky/you remind me how to fly.” The record’s core is comprised of songs dedicated to lost love but also the warming, glow of contentment found in the bosom of a relationship that completely clicks. ‘Rearview’ begins with just Trifilio’s tender voice and a delicately strummed guitar, before expanding into an emotional crescendo; at the song’s epicentre, the outfit’s lynchpin is in full confessional mode “Did you ever love me at all/sometimes I start to lose control/was I ever good enough for you.” ‘Colorblind’ in contrast, bristles with a summery twang, like a rough outtake from Paramore’s ‘After Laughter’ which has the band’s vocalist wrestling with her feelings, as one minute she states “you’re part of my biology”, then the next “every moment I fall to pieces/every moment I fall apart”. ‘Ms California’ is where Trifilio observes an object of her affection, knowing that they’re with someone else “but every time you say her name/it honestly kills me” as the group burst through an urgent dose of indie-pop-punk. With the immediacy stripped back to a toy-like piano and just Trifilio’s brittle vocals, ‘Racetrack’ is ‘Honeymoon’ at it’s most bruised and vulnerable. With a defeated tone, Beach Bunny’s singer murmurs “love is just a game of give and chase/I always wind up in second place” as if she’s baring her soul for everyone to see.
Beach Bunny have created something universally relatable, no matter what your age or whether you’re an emo-punk kid, an indie-rock worshipper or TikTok loving teen. ‘Honeymoon’ is chocked full of anthems for the disenchanted, to be yelled back at shows or mouthed along to via your smartphone.
Words and Thought of Adam Williams
Honeymoon by Beach Bunny comes out on February 14th via Mom+Pop Music