The Honey Trees Bright Fire

The Honey Trees Bright Fire
Turns out honey trees aren't just where angry, withholding bees hang out. They also take the form of inviting, dream-pop duos from California. Bright Fire, the debut LP from Becky Filip and Jacob Wick, a.k.a. the Honey Trees, is a lushly produced forestscape set to music.

There's a certain "Hundred Acre Wood" feel to this record, but in the most nostalgia-free, grown-up possible way. From the image-rich songwriting to the slow-pouring instrumentation, Bright Fire creates an otherworldly, almost fairy-tale atmosphere, though not one lacking in seriousness or well-timed horn bursts.

Amid all the enchantment, there are spots of longing, heartache, and bother ("The Fall," "Siren" and "Ammon's Horn"), but nothing amounting to the hurt and pain of, say, a Civil Wars album. This is perhaps the version of the record when the made-for-each-other couple stays together ("Still I Try," "Wild Winds" and "Ours"). See also "To Be With You," from The Honey Trees' lovely 2009 EP, Wake The Earth, complete with an official video of the duo wandering, guitar in hand, through green, mossy woods.

Both Filip and Wick have gorgeous, sauntering voices, which work together perfectly, and a special knack for writing special songs. The tranquil, open soundscape they've created here, and the landscape that inspired it, belong to a green, gold and blue natural world that, fingers crossed, we'll all be able to inhabit for a hundred years minus a day. (Independent)