It was four years ago now that the UK’s Black Honey first serenaded listeners with their debut EP. With tracks full of fuzzy guitars, booming drum beats and trippy vocals about Hollywood and the silver screen, it was clear that this band were doing something a bit different from the usual export from their native seaside town. They came from Brighton, but they parked up on the music scene in a sun-clad Cadillac, equipped with dark shades and a gun shaped guitar ready to shoot you all the way back to a bygone cinematic era.
“We live in a movie!” lead singer Izzy B. Phillips crooned a year later on single “Corrine,” giving a little context to the ‘as far as you can get from Brighton’ sound that the band had acquired. And it makes sense. Like a lot of us, this band were inspired by movies, making music so true to form that it might as well have been plucked straight out of the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. That isn’t to say they weren’t original, like the very best of artists, these four built on their influences, forging a unique identity out of something that had come before (think Lana Del Rey, just without all the seriousness.)
Four years on and the debut LP has arrived. Kicking off the album with the tried and tested filmic guitar licks (this time verging more towards the spaghetti western), the band quickly reveal an upgrade to their sound with the second track “Midnight.” With buzzing club synths and a glossing of autotune, Black Honey seem to shed the movie schtick, pulling the listener into an 80’s disco scene with a track designed to vibrate the dance floor and slap the listener off guard. This is continued with the radio friendly “Bad Friends,” the fun and bouncy “Just Calling” and the anthemic slow burner “Wasting Time.” Throughout all of the tracks Izzy sings of daggers in the heart, golden bullets and metaphorical car crashes, delightfully merging images of movie action with her own personal conflicts. There’s also the obligatory name drops of James Dean and Lolita (of course.)
Rest assured Black Honey are not attempting to shed anything, instead they evolve their sound into something a bit more unexpected. One minute you might get that familiar shivering Tarantino-esque guitar note, and the next you might get the roar of a pulsing club synth. Like the landscape of American cinema itself, it’s fair to say this band will never truly settle on one note; and if the success of this exquisitely crafted debut record is anything to go by, they’ll never really need to.