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| 12 June 2021 | Reply

Label: Dirt Records

Release Date: April 23, 2021

Rating: 95%

Reviewer: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

2021 is shaping up to be the year of great new albums from new(ish) artists.  I was lucky enough to check out Dirty Honey when they released their debut EP and then interview guitarist John and check out the band live in February 2020 before the world shut down.  The guys kept busy during quarantine and pulled together 8 tracks of rock and roll goodness for us all to sink our teeth into.  Disc opener “California Dreamin'” kicks off with a cool laidback riff that wraps itself around the opening and soon the heavy handed bass and drums join the musical fray and we are off and running.  This classic rock sound is expanded when the vocals kick in and we are off and running.  The vibe of this track embraces what I imagine a California Dreamin’ vibe would be, with cool grooves, great sounds, and a rock feel that takes no energy to slip into and enjoy.  “The Wire” is a solid foundation from the start and stays steady from open to close.  The rhythm section of drummer Corey Coverstone and bassist Justin Smolian shares the spotlight with the vocals through the verse and the guitars get turned up a bit across the chorus and transitions.  “Take My Hand” is a track that oozes influences from the 70’s and let’s the band put their own stamp on the classic sound and vibe from an era gone by.  The bass lines and drums provide a great platform for the track and the blues fueled vocal / guitar tandem  of Marc LaBelle and John Notto respectively draped across the track compliment the bottom end without being pushed to the back.  “No Warning” slows the pace a bit and brings another rocker that is smoky and blues laden in its undercurrent, especially the vocals and guitar work.  The groove of the track is solid and has that feel that let’s you settle in and enjoy the song with a solid backbeat and rhythm.

“Tied Up” has a cool blues vibe woven into its musical DNA calling to mind one of the bands influencers Aerosmith.  While this is no rehashed Aero tune or sound, there is something about the swagger in the tracks DNA that calls them to mind.  LaBelle’s vocals are some of the best on the disc and really add a bit of punch to the track, especially on the chorus.  Be sure to check out the guitar solo on the bridge, as it takes flight without leaving the song behind.  “Gypsy” is the one track that stands out with each spin of the disc.  The killer cadence and bass runs demonstrate the power of the rhythm section.  The contagious sound thrown into the chorus grabs me and gets me rocking out and singing along every time it runs through my speakers.  The guitars are strong and have an energy that is matched only by the vocals.  The stripped back sound and vibe that leads into the bridge is a cool breakdown that sets us up for Notto’s runaway solo that rises to the challenge on this killer track.  “The Morning” has a great sound and feel to it that kicks the familiar swagger from other tracks into the vibe of the track.  The vocals are great on this song and let us really feel the emotional delivery on the chorus as upper ranges are heard.  This one gets me dancing in my seat every time I hear it.  It has feel good stamped all over it sonically.  Disc closer “Another Last Time” really shows off the bands bluesier side.  The guitars along with the slower yet heavy handed bottom end from Smolian and Coverstone sets the pace and bar for the track and once the vocals drop in, everyone settles in for a fun laidback ride… and we don’t care where we wind up as long as we enjoyed the journey.  I cannot wait to see what these guys do with their slot on the upcoming Black Crowes tour, as they were an amazing headliner when I saw them last year.

Tracklisting: California Dreamin’ – The Wire – Tied Up – Take My Hand – Gypsy – No Warning – The Morning – Another Last Time

Lineup: Marc LaBelle (vocals) – John Notto (guitars) – Justin Smolian (bass) – Corey Coverstone (drums)






Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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