Black Honey’s eagerly anticipated self-titled debut album arrived September 21 and includes singles “Bad Friends,” “Hello Today” and “I Only Hurt The Ones I Love.” It’s the moment that their fans have been waiting for, as many believe the group is destined for superstardom.
Black Honey retains an air of mystery ahead of their September debut studio album. The Brighton four-piece met at college in 2014 and went through a series of “bad bassists” before settling on their current incarnation: lead singer Izzy B. Phillips, guitarist Chris Ostler, bassist Tommy Taylor and dummer Tom Dewhurst.
Black Honey steadily built anticipation for the new album over the last three years by releasing songs that melded a Debbie Harry-like girl power vocalist with shoegaze indie rock. In 2014 they released their first album, also called Black Honey, which featured songs like “Madonna,” a late 1990’s jaunt with lyrics like “I say a prayer for you because the whole world’s going to know what you do.” On “Corrine,” Izzy sounds like early No Doubt-era Gwen Stefani, setting a tone that Black Honey would repeat on later songs: “Corrine, come back to me / We live in a movie that nobody else will ever see.”
Indeed, Black Honey’s highly cinematic videos are mini-movies and they seemed to suggest that a major label was behind some of the mystery. But that has turned out not to be true. Black Honey is officially an unsigned band who will release Black Honey on its own label, FoxFive (named – of course – for the female assassin squad from Pulp Fiction).
Black Honey has poured the profits of its earlier tours back into their product, not taking a paycheck until 2018. The money went to developing videos such as the one for “Midnight,” released in August of 2018. Black Honey’s visual style is a mixture of Quentin Tarantino, Guy Ritchie with an overlay of Twin Peaks for good measure. “Midnight” features plenty of disco, some dirtied-up glam, and murder.
The video for “I Only Hurt the Ones I Love” takes place in “Texas Hollywood” and looks modeled on the movie sets for every Hollywood Western of the last 30 years. Izzy strides across the Wild West and it’s not clear whether this is an outtake from Westworld or Django Unchained.
It bears repeating that Black Honey is pulling all the strings and calling on the shots on where the band will go next. Although the band has surely drawn the interest of a major label, it’s unclear whether they will go anywhere that undercuts their creative control over their product. Even Black Honey’s merchandise is carefully considered – from the Coke-inspired cups bearing the band’s name to the Ronald McDonald outfit that Izzy sported at London Fashion Week.
Black Honey is named after extreme contrasts which fascinate Izzy: sweet and sour, or dark and light. The new album is full of such contrasts, demonstrating that Black Honey is capable of great variety. Reviews of their live shows confirm their confidence in performing everything from Rolling Stones-style swagger to shoegaze slow jams.
- Only Hurt the Ones I Live
- Whatever Happened to You
- Bad Friends
- Blue Romance
- Crowded City
- Hello Today
- Into the Nightmare
- Just Calling
- Wasting Time
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