Weather Love’ starts to play and it seems impossible that Honolulu, who to top it all are a boy/girl duo -brothers Léa and Quentin Mével- of French origin -like Victoria Legrand-, can avoid being compared to Beach House. This is both a virtue – in that it clearly defines their potential audience – and a condemnation – the odious comparisons, and so on. But listening to ‘Honolulu’, their debut album, you get the feeling that they don’t give a damn about who they’re compared to, just about making the most beautiful, evocative songs they can identify with. That’s their trump card, and it’s a winning one.

Of course, Alex Scally’s crystalline guitars, Legrand’s lynchian synths and Victoria’s own resounding and at times brittle voice – it’s always difficult to measure herself against her, but Léa is a very worthy soloist – emerge at times… as do echoes of Luna and Galaxie 500, The Fiery Furnaces (and not because they’re another band of brothers) or even the Velvet Underground. But the most remarkable thing about Honolulu is not that they make dream pop in certain canons – clean sounding, not hazy – but that they do it well. That is to say, the important thing is that they build a solid debut based on beautiful songs capable of enchanting anyone.

If ‘Sparrows’ and ‘Bats’, the first previews of the album presented months ago, were already seductive, the confirmation of their ability to construct beautiful melodies and adorn them with a mysterious and suggestive musical dress comes with new irresistible pieces like the trio ‘Boys In The Park’, ‘Not a Star’ and ‘Stop the Time’, a resounding central core. Around it gravitate tracks as candid as ‘What It’s Like’ (with a beautiful vocal line, with a soulful touch) and ‘Weather Love’ or dark (also less brilliant) as ‘Summer Danger’ or the frowning ‘Alfa’, making up a good set that is only somewhat tarnished by a somewhat basic production and mastering, which do not take full advantage of the material.

But sometimes, where budget or technique don’t reach, they do find romanticism and poetry, or the translation of a good personal story: Honolulu is the result of Léa and Quentin reuniting in Barcelona after years apart (he continued living in his native Rouen for a long time while she moved to the Catalan capital) and trying their luck in different musical adventures. With ‘Honolulu’ they seek their own essence, evoking the intimacy of the bedroom they shared as children, as if they were opening a box containing the best treasures harvested during their childhood and which, perhaps, are those we see spread out on the album cover. An idea as precious as many of the musical moments on their first full-length. Honolulu will be performing tomorrow, 8 June, at the Heliogàbal venue in Barcelona, at the Denso d’Estiu event. Then, on 5 July they will be at Vida Festival, and on the 15th of the same month at Festival Jardins Pedralbes, as support band for their compatriot LP.

Rating: 7/10
The best: ‘Boys In The Park’, ‘Sparrows’, ‘Bats’, ‘Stop The Time’, ‘Not A Star’.
You’ll like it if you like: Beach House, Wye Oak, Luna, The Fiery Furnaces
Listen to it: Spotify