Review

Jono Smithers takes a look at his own life on a diverse and contemplative HONEYBEE

It’s easy to see why Jono Smithers’ debut single “Cape Town” has done so well for itself. Textured and varied, it has a real gravity that grounds Smithers as a seriously skilled contender in the industry. Having just graduated from Berklee College of Music, Smithers delivers his technique in a contemporary setting, and his debut Honeybee is the bold result. 

The album is dedicated to Jono’s grandmother Bea, and title track “Honeybee” is proof of his uncompromising artistry. It’s fully acoustic and tenderly sung, not one bit made for radio, and rightly so. Any good album has got to retain some semblance of insecurity – it’s what makes it believable – and Jono commands that power with touching integrity. 

“Stuck In October” takes the heartfelt acoustics even further, but they never become too much. They’re broken by mean guitar licks and a surprising psych-funk production (“Love Ain’t Blind”) that harks back to the groove of The Jonas Brothers, but totally Tom Misch-style.  

Jono Smithers makes a name for himself with pensive grace on this multi-faceted debut, and a high flying passion of the sound he’s made for himself.