Spin - "Thankfully, the record doesn't feel overstuffed, but rather a sublimely arranged assortment of vignettes offering a glimpse into Ray's world."
Although it's billed as their final album, It's the Big Joyous Celebration, Let's Stir the Honeypot is only the second LP from Maryland-based indie outfit Teen Suicide. Formed in 2009 by singer/guitarist Sam Ray and drummer Eric Livingston, the noisy, emo-tinged duo made their recording debut in 2011 with a collection of rough demos called Bad Vibes Forever. A year later, the floodgates opened as four Teen Suicide EPs and one full-length were furiously cast into the world. Seemingly spent, Ray and Livingston disbanded at the end of an epic 2012, only to further confuse fans by peppering the next three years with various reunions, reissues, and limited releases like 2015's Sonic Youth 7". With that in mind, the announcement that this second LP will also be their swan song should be taken with a grain of salt. However, if it is indeed the end of the road for Teen Suicide, this sprawling 26-track work is one hell of an exit. The overly scuzzy, lo-fi stamp of their early years is partially jettisoned in favor of intimate, off-kilter songs that touch on dream pop, psych-folk, and strange tape-manipulated odes that are equal parts catharsis and lonesome beauty. Ray and his revolving crew of collaborators are as D.I.Y. as they come, and Honeypot feels at times like a piece of grungy -- yet oddly affecting -- assemblage art as it ranges from the wet Technicolor orchestrations of "Living Proof" to the hissy piano meanderings of "Have a Conversation." Horns, autoharps, organs, violins, synths, samples, and most likely some homemade instruments decorate what is easily the most ambitious collection of Teen Suicide's brief but prolific career. While it's not all good, there are some sublime moments within the album's ramshackle bulk, and its blast of free-range creativity is in itself something to celebrate. ~ Timothy Monger