With his debut single Imagination, Cork's Armoured Bear paved the way for greatness earlier this year. A handful of sweet, beautifully composed indie-pop songs, it was undoubtedly thoroughly impressive - but perhaps lacked the killer punch that would have elevated it to 'breathtaking' level. Not so for Honeycomb Moons; young songwriter Anthony Noonan (who operates under the Armoured Bear moniker) has created a soothing, good-natured and irresistibly charming debut album.
The most likeable thing about Honeycomb Moons is that it's immediately absorbing; from the opening track Fall - a balmy acoustic number that positively glows with warmth - right through the cheery, easygoing pop of Imagination and the Gomez-like scuffle of the brilliant Devil & Me, this is a record that wraps you up in cotton wool from the get-go, and refuses to unravel under the last swoonsome note is cast.
As a songwriter, Noonan has it all: he can combine sombre, reflective tracks with lilting, lighthearted fare (like the elements of reggae on 9 Lives Or Tomorrow) and even takes a brave stab at a spoken word overture (the lyrically astute and powerful Boy) with ease and subtlety. The outstanding production helps, too; a consistent vibrance coats Honeycomb Moons, yet it doesn't limit Noonan's range in the slightest. Simply put, a gorgeous little album.