DIRTY HONEY – Can’t Find The Brakes (2023) *HQ*
Sad ‘cos Aerosmith are almost retired? Don’t worry, you have DIRTY HONEY.
Los Angeles-based rockers will release their new album ”Can’t Find The Brakes” next November 3rd. The band’s second effort has been recorded in Australia with producer Nick DiDia. While the group’s 2021 self-titled debut was recorded with the band in L.A. and DiDia in Australia due to the pandemic, this time around, Dirty Honey were able to spend a full month in the studio with the producer. And it shows.
A testament to the band’s growth as songwriters, musicians, and arrangers, ”Can’t Find the Brakes” is an all-out roller coaster ride through love, passion, loss, regret, loyalty, redemption, inflicting pain and healing wounds.
The eleven new songs are set on a backdrop of blistering, down-and-dirty blues-infused rock’n’roll. Front and center throughout are Marc LaBelle’s goosebump-inducing vocals, John Notto’s tasty licks, bassist Justin Smolian’s fat-bodied tone, and new drummer Jaydon Bean’s bad-ass grooves.
One of the best things we heard in 2023 for sure.
Dirty Honey’s new record ”Can’t Find The Breaks” could well just be the album of the year. Rock and Roll hasn’t felt this alive in years. It’s a heady mix of Aerosmith, The Black Crowes, Zeppelin and AC/DC and so much more from the glorious golden ages of Hard Rock in the 70s and 80s.
It all starts with a bang too: there’s an almost Z.Z. Top meets Robert Palmer swagger and Black Crowes insistency to opener ‘Don’t Put Out The Fire’ that starts with a riff right from AC/DC’s top drawer, before the Zeppelin-like urgency in the riff to first single ‘Won’t Take Me Alive’ which imbibes a certain Aerosmith funkiness and abandon. It would be a great start to any record, but this is one that just keeps on giving.
‘Dirty Mind’ that follows those two out of the gate is bluesier, dirtier, and runs off into an almost Allmans-like breakdown but it’s soul is hard rock. It’s another winner. ‘Roam’ though just might be this album’s crowning glory starting out low key and building to a crescendo by way of a slow lilting ballad that swells and spikes full of passion and emotion, it’s stunning.
A Zeppelin riff and Plant-like vocal open ‘Get a Little High,’ a fun strutting rocker that busts into another statuesque chorus. It’s huge, it’s fun and it’s inescapable.
A second ballad ‘Coming Home (Ballad Of The Shire)’ shows the real breadth of vison of the band. It’s a ‘blue sky’ acoustic guitar and vocal that harness enough power to echo Zeppelin’s folkiest fare, it’s a beautiful song and one that stays with you. Whilst most bands might have chosen another ‘straighter’ ballad Dirty Honey just seem so natural digging deeper.
Rocking of course though is Dirty Honey’s business, and title track ‘Can’t Find The Brakes’ picks up the pace with a driving beat, funked up bass and crashing guitar. It’s the start of run of songs that really spells out not only who the band are but what they can do.
‘Satisfied’ for example sounds like a bonafide lost classic from the mid 70s with a soaring melodic chorus to seal the deal. ‘Ride On’ adds a real party feel and settles quickly into a groove that could be Aerosmith vintage 1977, or The Stones set to maximum swagger.
By way of contrast ‘You Make It All Right’ the third slow song here shows why they are so much more than many of the bands that take the soulful rock and roll of the 70s as their jumping off point. It has that swelling keys sound that places it in time, a wonderful vocal and so much damn soul.
Dirty Honey just seem to do it all so naturally and if this is the ‘difficult second album’ then we are going to be hearing this and for many years to come. Hearing an album like this underlines that Rock is far from dead, maybe it’s just dead if you want it to be or you’re too old? No one could hear this album and not be moved and if you’re not then we have nothing in common musically.
‘Rebel Son,’ the closer, is one of the most interesting songs here in that it seems to gather up all that we’ve heard so far and open the door to the next chapter in the resurgence of real Hard Rock in America, and if you’re not entirely convinced then that breakdown that closes the song is what has been missing in your life.
This is one of the best Bluesy Hard Rock records since The Black Crowes dropped ‘Southern Harmony’. That’s the biggest, boldest compliment I can give. ‘Can’t Find The Brakes’ sounds like a band capable of anything – with a rhythm section like you wouldn’t believe, a singer with that has that certain something that so few have and a guitarist who knows that less is so much more, but more is even more!
Dirty Honey is the Rock band that they said they would never make anymore: the saviors of American Hard Rock… you decide.
This will be looked back on as a future classic.
01. Don’t Put Out The Fire
02. Won’t Take Me Alive
03. Dirty Mind
05. Get A Little High
06. Coming Home (Ballad of The Shire)
07. Can’t Find The Brakes
09. Ride On
10. You Make It All Right
11. Rebel Son
vocals – Marc LaBelle
guitar – John Notto
bass – Justin Smolian
drums – Jaydon Bean