Having toured with the likes of Omar, Brand New Heavies and Laura Izibor, recorded with Joss Stone, Macy Gray and Allen Stone, and written for Jennifer Hudson, it should come as no surprise that critically acclaimed singer/songwriter Honey Larochelle would deliver a great album of her own. A protégé of Roberta Flack, Honey is “Vancouver born, Texas Raised, Florida reformed, and Brooklyn saved,” and these travels, both geographical and musical, certainly show in her debut LP, The Yes Feeling.
Traversing vast musical ground, Honey incorporates soul, R&B, funk, rock and reggae into the album’s 14 cuts and she sounds equally at home on each. The album opens with “Bee Intro,” a short-but-sweet a cappella segue into the funky, feel-good “Heaven,” which continues with the honey/bee theme and is one of those tracks you want to be listening to as you take a carefree walk in the sunshine. Songs such as “Be Your Baby” and “Canadian Girl” have a hip-hop/neo-soul lean, with the latter seeing Honey even break into a well-executed rap verse. The Roberta Flack influence is apparent on classic-sounding mid-tempos “Who’s Gonna Love You” and “The One That Got Away,” both of which showcase Honey’s impressive range, however it’s on the deep-funk of “Dear John,” where Honey shows a grittier, throatier side to her voice, that things really start to heat up.
The latter portion of the album is where Honey changes things up a little, and takes a risk or two, delivering the reggae bounce of “I Open My Heart” and “One, 2, Three,” the rock-edged “Fight For Him” and the rather saucy “Back Of My Car.” Surprisingly, given that the album is all over the map in terms of musical styles, it holds together well as a debut release. The most impressive facet is most certainly Honey’s elastic vocals, and, by keeping the subject matter bright and breezy and the songs structurally familiar, those vocals can really take center stage. Going forward, Honey may decide to choose a lane and stick with it (if she does, the “Dear John” route gets my vote), but with with a voice like hers and a knack for a great hook, the musical world is her oyster. Overall, The Yes Feeling serves as a great introduction to Honey’s sound, a showcase of her abilities and a launchpad for what could become a very promising solo career.