Wilde Honie stands as the freshest offering from Melbourne's own songwriting luminary, Eve Duncan, accompanied by her assembled ensemble. Duncan boasts an illustrious track record, decorated with Art Music awards spanning global locales like Australia, England, Vienna and Greece. Her compositions have resonated through a spectrum of international ensembles, spanning from the farthest corners of Thailand to the depths of Transylvania. The talents comprising her band are nothing short of extraordinary, culled from Melbourne's cream of the crop in jazz, rock and indie pop. Among them, luminaries such as Amos Roach (didjeridu), Tony Floyd (drums), Gianni Marinucci (flugelhorn), Craig Fermanis (guitar), Chris Pascoe (keyboards) and Ben Robertson (double bass) unite their virtuosity under Duncan's banner. Duncan's sonic signature is encapsulated as "cool love songs from the heart with a modal-indie feel, infused with plinky-plonk Art Music with expansive jazz harmonies." This auditory voyage was birthed through the collaborative production efforts of Duncan and the rhythmic prowess of drummer Tony Floyd, hailing from the studios of Bradshaw Music Productions in Melbourne.
"Wilde Honie" unfurls with a curious auditory mosaic, at first perhaps mistaken for a bullroarer, yet soon recognized as the resonant echoes of a didjeridu—an indigenous Australian wind instrument renowned for its resonant overtones. Amos Roach masterfully orchestrates this instrument, crafting a unique tonal foundation for Duncan's songcraft. Acoustic textures and unassuming percussion envelop the unconventional soundscape Duncan constructs, her vocal delivery. The simplicity of her arrangements accentuates the poetic narrative, a mythical tapestry that likely unravels the threads of newfound love. Anchoring the composition, double bass infuses a jazz undercurrent.
"Pulling Us Together" resonates with Gianni Marinucci's flugelhorn. The synergy of double bass and samba-infused percussion evokes a luxurious sheen of smooth jazz. Her vocal delivery possesses an intimate honesty, occasionally straying from precise notes to craft a profoundly personal experience.
"Unsuitable" pivots unexpectedly into a reggae realm. A looping structure weaves through the track, eschewing traditional chorus-verse conventions, allowing Duncan to pour forth her thoughts with candid spontaneity. Amidst the steady beat, Duncan navigates themes of love, unveiling the dichotomy between the perceived unsuitability of her partner and the magnetic allure that draws her in.
Chris Pascoe's spirited electric keyboards intertwine with bass and acoustic guitar, infusing an upbeat jauntiness. "Throw Me a Rope" marks a return to Duncan's lush jazz-inflected soundscape. Pascoe's masterful keys converse with the rhythm section, forming the musical bed for Duncan's journey. Love once again takes center stage, traversing global landscapes with references to sushi and an eloquent French refrain. The composition strikes a harmonious balance between captivating melodies and Duncan's evocative lyrics, although some rhymes venture into the territory of explicitness.
In its entirety, Wilde Honie presents an engaging quartet of songs that embody a heartening vitality—a rare feat in today's musical landscape. In a world often fraught with complexity, Duncan's compositions resonate with an affirming radiance, inviting listeners to bask in a sense of optimism and emotional connection that's both timeless and gratifying.