Maeve Steele, Honeyland Review


Maeve Steele, Honeyland Review

by Constance Tucker

Maeve-Steele-AAV-cdLos Angeles-based pop-folk singer-songwriter Maeve Steele has released her eagerly awaited sophomore EP, Honeyland. This six-track EP, produced by Daniel Loumpouridis, known for his work with Louis The Child on “It’s Strange (ft. K.Flay),” showcases Steele’s most artistically refined endeavor. With her roots deeply planted in the Bay Area’s vibrant music and fashion scene, influenced by the historic Haight-Ashbury culture, Steele has evolved from her classical violin beginnings to a distinctive voice in the folk, Americana, and country genres. After honing her skills as a session songwriter in Nashville, Steele’s creative voyage took her to Los Angeles, where she has since emerged with notable releases, including the popular single “No Control” and her 2022 EP Overland.

Honeyland explores themes of femininity, nostalgia, and self-transformation, encapsulating Steele’s introspective and confessional songwriting prowess. The EP opens with “Honeyland (Intro),” a track that gently introduces listeners to Steele’s signature textures and ethereal vocals, set against a backdrop of slow swelling synths, light acoustic guitars, and backward guitar sounds, culminating in an ascending harp arpeggio that seamlessly transitions into the next song.

“How to Run” presents a folky acoustic guitar strumming pattern, with Steele’s vocals delivering poignant verses amidst a lush arrangement of guitars and a depth-filled soundstage. Her sweet and fragile voice swims in a sea of emotion and reverb, slightly set back in the mix to create an immersive listening experience.

“Strangers in the Garden” is a musical experience crafted by Steele’s ability to blend pop and folk rock elements. The tasteful production features piano loops and sound effects that, along with the bass and drums, build a distinctive sound texture for each song section.

In “Lorena,” Steele ventures into indie rock territory with a chunky guitar pattern paired with her sweet, upper-register vocals. The dreamy chorus texture, backed by sustained synth sounds, suggests a longing for a more complex song structure that could further elevate the track.

“Arcade” showcases Steele’s vocal range and expressive capabilities with a production that builds a reflective soundscape. Her consistent vocal placement and the enveloping reverb enrich the lyrical storytelling.

Finally, “If We Had Wings / Wings (Outro)” closes the EP with a steady indie pop-rock beat and Maeve’s dreamy falsetto. The song’s dynamic structure and the dreamy synth and background vocals add layers of texture, providing a fitting conclusion to the EP’s thematic exploration.

Honeyland is Steele presenting a body of introspective and confessional work that is also musically and emotionally expansive. Influenced by Lana Del Rey and literary figures such as Joan Didion and Maggie Nelson, Steele has crafted a unique “Americana-noir” sound that weaves a tapestry of emotions and intimate experiences. Her storytelling, combined with the intricate musical arrangements and production by Loumpouridis, makes Honeyland a significant find in the crowded indie music scene and is worth exploring and experiencing its complex themes colored with depth, nuance, and musicality.


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