With the release of “Perfect Word” and “Only Just To Smile,” Amanda Anne Platt & the Honeycutters conclude a year-long song cycle that is in equal parts ambitious and intimate. Birthed by the COVID-19 pandemic, The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea has been revealed over the course of 2021 as a dual-themed series of musical moments and memories that, as the singer/songwriter said at the outset, “represent different sides of the creative process, with The Devil including the more manic, upbeat, outgoing — maybe even grotesque at times — and The Deep Blue Sea being more reclusive, contemplative, understated.”
Keyed to the first of those sides, “Perfect Word” is a graceful yet animated recollection of a final homecoming, set to a sinuous melody that unfolds in one memorable phrase after another over the band’s effortless-sounding mid-tempo groove even as its subject recalls the series’ opener, “New York.” “This is another song that came out of the period where my parents were selling the house I grew up in,” Platt offers. “So it felt fitting to end where we began (‘New York’ being on the same theme). It’s about my childhood and saying goodbye. I’m someone who tends to focus on endings instead of the beginnings they may represent, so this song was and is a helpful reminder to me that ‘love is not a perfect word, it knows no time or place.’”
Its companion, “Only Just To Smile,” sounds a welcome note of reconciliation with the passage of time, offered in a slower, wistful, yet ultimately uplifting setting from a group fully engaged in the moment. Framed in restraint and a steady stream of delicate touches by the Honeycutters — Evan Martin (drums), Rick Cooper (bass), Matt Smith (pedal steel guitar) and Kevin Williams (piano) — and her brother, Andrew, sitting in on electric guitar, Platt delivers what is surely one of the series’ most emblematic lyric passages, as she realizes:
"I cashed in all of my wild days
for swapping stories in our living room
and the things I left behind may call to me sometimes
but if I look back now it's only just to smile"
“I wanted this song to be last in the line of single releases,” she notes. “Because it’s about being on the other side of change and feeling accepting of it. Sometimes we get blinded to all that we’ve gained when we pine for the past… I fall victim to that frequently. I wanted this song to be recorded live so that we could have everyone in one room together, an experience we’ve really lacked during this process because of the pandemic. It worked out magically.”
Listen to "Perfect Word" and "Only Just To Smile" HERE.