Home Read Albums Of The Week: Dirty Honey | Dirty Honey

Albums Of The Week: Dirty Honey | Dirty Honey

Looks like nobody told this L.A. foursome rock is dead. With luck, nobody ever will.

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “After a string of chart hits and live triumphs, one of rock music’s most exciting new bands, Dirty Honey, are keeping the momentum going with their self-titled debut album.

Dirty Honey — vocalist/lyricist Marc LaBelle, guitarist John Notto, bassist Justin Smolian and drummer Corey Coverstone — planned to record the album with producer Nick DiDia (Rage Against the Machine, Pearl Jam), who had produced the band’s 2019 EP, but the day before the band were to fly to Australia to track the album, Los Angeles entered lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic and traveling was off the table. Still keen to work with DiDia, they came up with a Plan B: record the album at Henson Studios in Los Angeles with DiDia beamed into the proceedings via the magic of modern technology.

Having to switch gears delayed the start of recording slightly, although this extra time ended up being a boon. Dirty Honey rented a rehearsal space and demoed the album’s songs in advance, meaning the tracks were in good shape when DiDia came onboard. “If we had gone when we were supposed to in March, we wouldn’t have had as many songs,” Smolian says. “We did a lot of rehearsing and got tighter as a band. Except for Marc’s lyrics, everything was pretty much written by the time we got into the studio; there really wasn’t a lot of, ‘Let’s try this, let’s try that.’ It was more about capturing takes.”

The Dirty Honey album does sound effortless and captures the lightning-in-a-bottle dynamics and energy of the band’s live sound. The collection boasts airtight songwriting that plays up their strengths: sexy, bluesy, nasty rock ‘n’ roll. LaBelle reaffirms his status as one of contemporary rock’s best vocalists on The Wire, while the gospel-tinted Another Last Time is a midtempo, organ-fueled album-closer bursting with soul.

Although the pandemic has thrown some obstacles in the way, Dirty Honey know that pushing through those tough times will only help them come out stronger on the other side. “When you finally come through on those moments, that’s where the real magic comes in,” Notto says. “What makes all of our songs fun to play and listen to is we don’t allow ourselves to stop short of getting the best possible results out of each one of them.”

In fact, if anything, all of the four band members are determined to better themselves going forward. “As a guitarist, I’m always inspired by the everlasting pursuit of the perfect riff,” Notto adds. “I also wanted to extend the artistic statement that we’ve already made. We weren’t looking to sound different, or prove our growth, necessarily. It was more about, ‘Oh, you thought that was good? Hold my beer.’ ”