Over the course of two albums for indie label October Records and their 1997 major label debut, Seen A Ghost, the Minneapolis-based Honeydogs, a few good tracks notwithstanding, proved themselves to be one of the weaker bands in the alt-country genre. Nearly devoid of a discernible personality to call their own, the band seemed well on their way to becoming a sort of poor man’s, watered down version of Wilco.
So it perhaps should come as no surprise that as Jeff Tweedy and company have moved more in the direction of psychedelic power pop, their shadow band would follow suit. Indeed, tracks like the languid opener “Stonewall” and the piano and organ-tinged “Wilson Boulevard” on Here’s Luck do bear a resemblance to Wilco’s Summerteeth.
But The Honeydogs prove themselves to be much more than pale imitations on this record. Impressive, dense pop tunes like “Pins In Dolls,” piano pop like “For The Tears,” and crunchy guitar rockers like “Sour Grapes” and “Losing Transmissions” actually exhibit strong signs of personality. On “Transmissions,” chief songwriter Adam Levy sings: “Winter of ‘99/Borrowing all the time/Robbed Peter, then we sucker punched Paul.”
It turns out The Honeydogs on Here’s Luck are deft assimilators of The Beatles, Big Star, Brian Wilson, ’70s progressive rock, and even another Minneapolis band, The Replacements. Nice touches like the electric sitar on “Red Dye #40” are icing on the cake. Looks like these guys might have a future after all, with a little Luck.