The new CD from Honey Clouds is called “Cover the Forest” and it’s the follow-up to last year’s debut, “Fall on the Honey Clouds” (Peapod Recordings).

The band is guitarist and Mr. Peapod, Ron Harrity, rhythm guitarist/songwriter Trey Hughes, bassist/vocalist Mandy Wheeler and drummer Sean Wilkinson. Their sound covers a lot of ground and as I unpack my adjectives the words fuzzy, cacophonous, catchy, random, fun, eccentric, oddly tranquilizing and unexpectedly gratifying all flitter around my head.

Hughes’ vivid imagination shines through immediately on the odd-duck opener, “Fever Rabbit,” with lyrics “We strolled into a clover field where butterflies would be/ we took our time and we arrived/ they were all right there with honeysuckle sandwiches they generously shared.” Before being pulled down the Hughes rabbit hole, there’s a minute-plus of … heck, I don’t know, sound-effects record samples maybe, some bird chirps and some heavy guitar. Wheeler’s B-52’s-esque screech vocals add to the peculiarity of the song, which I must admit has grown on me big time.

The next one, “Kites and Balloons,” has a slow electric guitar tumbleweed intro. The refrain of “it’s no problem if we’re on the ground, together under these stars,” sung by Hughes and Wheeler, is downright sweet. Hughes does not have a traditionally “good” voice — it’s more one-dimensional — but it works, especially with Wheeler’s terrific wild howling alongside it.

“Crumble on the Stars” is another “Cover the Forest” notable. It’s bright and snappy and it’s beachy, both lyrically and musically. When Todd Hutchinson’s sax and Jimmy McGirr’s trumpet come in, the merriment stakes are raised even higher. “Sugar” is a jangly love song in the setting of tapped maple trees and sugar shacks. “Boots Boots” will get stuck on repeat in your brain. I especially like Wheeler’s backing vocals on this one, and in fact could have stood some more of her all around.

“Cover the Forest” ends with “Time to Go,” which may induce spontaneous mosh-pit behavior with Harrity’s blazing guitar, Wilkinson’s drums and the power thumping of Wheeler’s bass. That is, until the song’s midpoint, when it slows way down and makes its way to a feather-soft landing.


Aimsel Ponti is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.