Dirty Honey sounds like rock and roll. That overwhelming amp crunch with a sweet high-end reverberation is as close to perfection as an avid listener could want. The mark is made in their first full-length debut. There exists a thread of big British bands who scrape at the ceilings of giant sound. There are also tight, compact American-style rockers. Dirty Honey appears to be one of the latter. Drinking from the same trough as bands like Guns N’ Roses and Audioslave, this quartet provides a great set of punchy ditties.
Replete with guitar flourish and strident vocal piercings, the group compiles eight solid tracks that remind aficionados what hard rock can, and should, sound like. “California Dreamin’” leads the set, but is far from the best track. “The Wire” offers up a gritty version of ‘80s power with a heaping dose of rhythmic guitar grooves. “Take My Hand” provides the sharpest riff. The Morello-esque burst shouldn’t be all that surprising considering that Nick DiDia lent a hand in production. “Gypsy” follows with a straight-forward rock punch. The band does a great job of meshing their individual instruments, and as a result they deliver a creamy flow of retro-rock that truly pleases the ear.
“The Morning” contains the best lyrical twist of the album:
“The morning can wait until the morning.”
And that’s really where Dirty Honey makes their money. Taut songs with an immense amount of attitude. By the time that they get around to “Another Last Time” listeners will appreciate the slow-drag reverb soaked ballad of an unfortunate relationship. John Notto excels on guitar and Marc LaBelle’s worldplay hits the mark. The backline of Justin Smolian and Corey Coverstone creates an immense amount of great musical noise. This is a band that is very much in-tune with each other. Somewhere between the fuzzed-out guitar passages and the dyno-rhodes piano there is a glimpse of a return of American hard rock. Most of it is talent and attitude. These guys are great, there is no doubt about that.
More endearing is their willingness to “let it all hang out.” Dirty Honey doesn’t fear wearing their hearts on their sleeves. They are steeped in a tradition of blues funk that comes through on first listen. Dirty Honey is short on songs, but not on creativity and craftsmanship. In eight tunes they plead a decent case to revive rock n’ roll. Not every song hits the mark, but the top half of the album is as good as anything since the GNR days. The album is loud, it is honest, and the musicianship and sounds are excellent.
Listeners who enjoy close-up, small-venue rock will find this an incredible offering. Dirty Honey, along with The Battle at Garden’s Gate perhaps supply the best possibilities of reviving blues rock as a genre.
The Review: 8.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– The Wire
– Take My Hand
– Another Last Time
The Big Hit
– Take My Hand