HoneyHoney’s latest work, Billy Jack, is out this week on Lost Highway/Fontana records. A west-coast band comprised at the core of Ohio native Suzanne Santos and east coast original Ben Jaffe, HoneyHoney is an indie/folk/roots band that delivers on sound and has aged over the past few years into a “shouldn’t-miss” act. HoneyHoney is an interesting combination of sounds and genres, truly comfortable with themselves and their voices Billy Jack is an exploration, and slightly different sound from their previous works
Currently rounded out with Gerry Porter on drums and JP Maramba on the bass the group has been touring relentlessly in support of Billy Jack, and the album is certainly worth a spin. Their live shows attract listeners from various walks-of-life, all drawn to this group that delivers a strong-emotional set whoops-it-up with the best of them.
The Nashville influence is obvious with the lead-out song on the album “Angel of Death”, dripping with imagery and accompanied with a soulful fiddle the listener is drawn in and carried along this age-old tale without ever really knowing what hit them. This age-old tale of dealing with the devil is well-written and superbly delivered, a great choice as the first track the listener is drawn in immediately.
The first single off the album “Turn That Finger Around” is an electric number and one of the more up-tempo songs on the album. An obvious jab at critics, or perhaps simply negative influences, the song is fairly solid with a few moments where the listener may get lost in transition. Clever lyrics and Satnos’ voice make this number one to re-spin a few times, the song is certainly layered and offers something new with each turn.”
“Let’s Get Wrecked” is a plan-old-honky-tonk-grab-your-girl-and-go-out-for-a-drink song that will likely make the play-list at every bar in the Midwest this winter. This number is really just about heading out for the night looking for fun/trouble/parties and waking up the next day with a slightly drunken smile. Fun and full of swagger this is a foot stomping number…watch out when this one hits the radio.
HoneyHoney’s tribute to LA is “L.A. River” is one of the strongest songs on the album. Ben’s piano and Santos’ smoky, sultry and intoxicating voice carry the listener for a ride and it is a doozy. The imagery and melody blend perfectly in this number and for those who’ve never made it out to The City of Angels this track captures the city and it’s intoxicating draw.
Overall, this album is very good. There are a few moments where direction isn’t clear and perhaps a little more spit-and-shine would have helped out, but in the end the album isn’t hurt by those moments in any significant way. Santos’ voice and Jaffe’s musicianship are the obvious draws for this group and it’s a pleasure to listen to them together. The mastering was well-done, full sound that swells without becoming “just loud” and both violin and banjo sound warm throughout the album.
Written by Meredith Underhill