Honey is a soft name for a band who are markedly anything but. The Brooklyn-based group of Cory Feierman, William Schmiechen and Dan Wise (who formerly played with Amen Dunes and Psychic Ills, respectively) combine crushing guitar lines and straightforward vocal melodies to create something much more intense and direct than any of the trio’s previous projects. They’ve produced a ripping seven-track debut LP, Love is Hard, which lives up to its name—it’s not for the faint of heart. That’s not to say that it’s inaccessible; earlier this month Honey shared “MFLH” (stands for Mother Fucker Long Hair), a psych punk anthem with a melody that sticks.
The next single from Love is Hard and the record’s closer, “White City” fits right into the legacy of early punk and psychedelic bands—they’ve garnered warranted comparisons to Dead Boys and The Mirrors. Heavy walls of distortion collide with Dan Wise’s half-lilting shout to create just the right amount of friction as he weaves a narrative that’s as nervous as it is wistful, with lines like “When you finally see the light / you don’t worry about sleep.” The steadied burn of the song’s first half breaks out into an unwieldy guitar solo that escalates over the pounding bass, followed by an instrumental breakdown that strings us along breathlessly. A thrilling and unsettling refrain of “Everybody wants to come along” gives the song an almost cultish feel, and after riding out the fiery wave Honey have arranged for us, it’s hard not to be swept up.
Love is Hard is out May 6 on Wharf Cat Records. You can stream “White City” below.