Forming in late 2011, Wildhoney set out to write pop songs with the energy and malcontent of hardcore punk, but without its entrenched masculinity — drawing influences from ‘60s girl groups, ‘80s post punk, indie pop, and shoegaze. The five-piece has since become one of the loudest — and sweetest — bands in its hometown of Baltimore.
In Wildhoney's dark, lucid, and hook-heavy landscape, Zach Inscho plays drums, Joe Trainor and Marybeth Mareski play guitars, Alan Everhart plays bass, and Lauren Shusterich sings. Together the group makes their own sense of the pop tradition, as heard on recent tours with Ceremony, Eternal Summers and Whirr. Many have noticed the band's energy and efforts, and it has earned them high praise from NPR, the Chicago Tribune, Noisey, Impose, and Brooklyn Vegan amongst others.
On their 2015 debut LP, Sleep Through It (Deranged/Forward Records), Wildhoney proved themselves masters of creating a cohesive, yet diverse, full-length set of songs that left the listener wanting more. Critics noted the band's thoughtfulness and attention to dynamic. Sleep Through It was preceded by two EPs - a self-titled release (Nostalgium Directive) that showed off the band's heavy punk influences and first nervous forays into pop, and Seventeen Forever (Photobooth Records) on which the group advanced bravely forward, refining their sound and highlighting their catchy vocal melodies.
Wildhoney choose to use songwriting and melody as primary vehicles on their pop excursions, a traditional approach they first proposed on Sleep Through It and wholly celebrate on their 2015 EP, Your Face Sideways. The five songs on Side A of the EP were recorded at Marlborough Farms by New York pop legend Gary Olson (Jens Leckman, Crystal Stilts, Frankie Rose, Literature, Architecture in Helsinki), and are steered by Shusterich's vocals.
Like a sculptor, Shusterich molds her voice to carry sweet melodies against uptempo instrumentation, poetically exploring loss and depression through her lyrics. The long, slower composition "FSA II" comprises the entirely of Side B, expanding on what was explored on "FSA" on their debut LP. Recorded in Baltimore by Jordan Romero in his bedroom directly to tape, the track uses sparse repetition, minimal guitar, glockenspiel, flute, synths and field recordings to remind the listener that while noise and effects may come and go, Wildhoney hold a map to pop magic by way of many alternate routes to come, both of the heart and the head.