by Jacob Wingate-Bishop
Black Honey are undoubtedly one of the best up-and-coming bands around right now, mixing thoughtful, neurodivergent-affirming lyrics with timeless teenage apathy and distorted licks. Their third album, A Fistful of Peaches, is out now, and builds on the unstoppable formula of pop-punk showcased in the group’s first two albums.
They’re one of the few bands with the audacity to open an album with one of its heaviest tracks, ‘Charlie Bronson’, taking the battering power and lasting whiplash of its titular character and condensing it into song form. ‘I’m Charlie f**king Bronson…’ wails lovably lifeless frontwoman, Izzy Phillips as the chorus hits.
‘Heavy’, a single released late last year, refuses to let up, taking the concept of attention deficit disorder and putting it to music. It’s without a doubt one of the best tracks on the record, and further proof that Black Honey are, first and foremost, a rock act. ‘Up Against It’ and ‘Out of My Mind’ take a softer approach to the whirlwind of mental health issues, sounding straight out of an hmv from the early 2000s.
‘Rock Bottom’, a favourite of both myself and the band, is undoubtedly the high point of the record, a hidden gem kept locked away until release day. The guitar in ‘Cut the Cord’ and side two opener, ‘OK’ are out of an Oasis B-side compilation, toeing the line between post-punk and shoegaze. The result? A delectable kind of cacophony that refuses to let up in righteous anger-fuelled ‘I’m A Man’. ‘With a face like a thumb/ And a spine like a sponge…’ is a brilliant line.
‘Nobody Knows’ is pure psychedelic stoner rock, before rampaging front and centre into the Vaccines-esque ‘Weirdos’, a kind of anthem for the outcasts and the uncool. ‘Tombstone’ proves one of the crunchiest tracks in the band’s repertoire, with a drum sound akin to smashing one’s face against a whiskey-soaked bar.
Black Honey’s third effort closes with ‘Bummer’, a track coupling Gorillaz’ lo-fi with unadulterated punk. ‘Take that medication/ For self-deprecating…’ mutters singer Phillips with SSRI-induced indifference. It’s the perfect end to a boozy, brawly, self-reflective kind of night out.
A Fistful of Peaches is, in many ways, the definitive mental health record, particularly of the moment. Nearly every track is laden with references to anti-depressants, medication, uncertainty in one’s own mind and a kind of apathy with the modern world. It’s deeply resonant and it reflects in the heaviness of each instalment. Written & Directed, the group’s sophomore release,was one beastly record, but Honey have done it again: they’ve put their last record to shame, and hammered down the competition. Onstage and behind the sound desk, this band is unstoppable, and it’s only up from here.