2016 has been a big year for the electro-soul pairing of Andy Clutterbuck and James Hatcher, two friends who began collaborating on their first day at university before spending two years releasing a chain of EPs and putting out debut album Warm On A Cold Night, named after their inaugural single release as HONNE, in July. That track perfectly introduces the feel of what’s to come: intimate sounds with occasional flares of the outlandish and jazzy. ‘All In The Value’ takes an interesting turn with powerful electric guitar riffs implanted in the bridge shortly before fellow acclaimed soulful newcomer Izzy Bizu emerges for a stunning cameo on ‘Someone That Loves You,’ a single that represents an overlap with more mainstream pop sufficiently to have received a run on the BBC Radio 1 daytime playlist.
Additionally, the influence of dance music is present throughout – they may be faint, but there are clear links to the nightclub scene where the pair began – however where HONNE is arguably at their best is when augmenting their inherently soulful sounds. The harmonic edges to the choruses of ‘Good Together‘ and ‘It Ain’t Wrong Loving You’ subtly add some class to their distinct electronica, dripping consistently with Clutterbuck’s hushed, raspy vocals and Hatcher’s sumptuous instrumentation. Whilst such similarity in an album can tend to be overwhelming, Warm On A Cold Night‘s commitment to subtle, melodically-guided sounds creates an atmosphere that works as a perfect lullaby: soothing yet upbeat with a deliberately energetic feel.
Whilst a recent compilation of remixes of Warm On A Cold Night introduced more rhythmic club takes from the likes of Riton, Joe Goddard, and Klaves, the pair continue to turn attention to remix work for other artists on the road – recent glowing efforts have included The Temper Trap’s ‘Lost’ and ‘Indulge’ by JONES, for whom they produced two tracks on debut album New Skin – whilst their shimmering live show, which our review noted turned the emphatic record into “something yet more spacious and enthralling,” has taken them to sold-out shows from Brighton to Seoul. Fortunately, Clutterbuck and Hatcher have no plans to slow things down in 2017, telling The Edge recently of their plans to carry on towards new material through the new year. With much in the pipeline for an innate musical charm as enchanting as their irresistibly unique sound, it’s safe to say they won’t be HONNE for long.
Warm On A Cold Night was released on July 22nd via Tatemae Recordings and Atlantic Records