EP Review: Black Honey – ‘Disinfect’

by Evie Mallender

If ever the aesthetic prowess of Quentin Tarantino manifested itself into band form, it would be Black Honey.

In the wake of their 2014 emergence from the elusive void of indie rock, lead vocalist Izzy B. Phillips and her eccentric vocals paint the quartet’s lyrical world of love and lust in a fictional British Hollywood. In the band’s current iteration, the same trademarks of shimmering chords and flawlessly coiffed pinky-peroxide curls remain prominent — yet, in newly released EP ‘Disinfect’, their long-established cinematic kitschiness has been taken to a glorious yet rock-heavy fever pitch.

Hotly anticipating the release of their second studio album ‘Written and Directed by Black Honey’, the EP offers a closer insight into what can be expected from the band’s future material. Opening with titular track ‘Disinfect’, Phillips’s ultra-feminine tones are set against grunge-twanged guitar melodies which positively ooze with drama and attitudes of rebellion and cleansing in the current age. It comes as no surprise to learn that the band drew heavy influence from Brighton-based peer rock band Royal Blood in both audible and thematic elements present throughout the new release. Co-written by the Blood’s Mike Kerr, fourth track Run for Cover further intensifies the band’s presence in the new rock age, laced with intense electric melodies not at all dissimilar to those produced by the song’s famous co-writer. Speaking to NME on the track in 2020, Phillips revealed that, since the song was written from a male perspective, it’s an exploration of “both power and my weakness in equal measure. We wanted it to sound manic – like Hives meets John Travolta, hips swinging. I love this song. I hope it makes women find themselves and dump their boyfriends”.

Whilst third track ‘I Like The Way You Die’ retains this ultraviolet, rock n’ roll style, remaining songs Beaches and Believer exist as hyper-cool tributes to the Hollywood glamour of a bygone era. Released as the first single from the album in July 2020, Beaches is more than a summer anthem; it’s almost a modern Miserlou, combining traditional and modern musical elements basking in a surfin’ summer’s glow that would (probably) make Dick Dale and the Del-Tones
proud. Believer, however, uses Phillip’s vocals to cast a sultry filmic vignette over slower melodies, accompanied by male backing vocals that hark back to the erotic allure of seventies rock.

Few modern bands manage to teeter as delicately in the limbo between modernity and vintage as Black Honey; it’s their distinct style that magically appeals to fans of yesteryear’s music as well as those who reside deep within the realm of current releases. Eccentric in nature, yet still retaining the same ‘kitsch chic’ for which they have become so well known, the quartet has solidified its presence as indie rock pioneers in both music, feminist values and style.
Written and Directed by Black Honey is to be released on 19th March — and, considering the sublime quality of this new EP, it’s most definitely going to be as darkly sweet and gorgeously sticky as the band’s namesake.

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