Dirty Honey has had an impressive success trajectory, with their debut record drawing some impressive critical acclaim and boosting the band quickly into the mainstream. Their self-titled recording was released in 2021, which, of course, was a time burned into the collective minds of all mankind as a moment in history that caused untold misery, loss of life and livelihoods, plus had a devastating impact on the entertainment industry. So, the very fact that Dirty Honey released their first album during this period and found moderate success is one of but a few bright lights in a period of darkness.
Now, just a handful of years later, Dirty Honey proves that lightning can strike twice with the follow-up, Can’t Find the Brakes.
“Don’t Put Out the Fire” opens with Marc LaBelle’s ballad-like vocals, introducing the record with a bluesy style that oozes class. This is followed by a simple yet effective drum beat from Jaydon Bean to announce a funk-inspired guitar riff from John Notto, which is all held together with the underlying bass lines from Justin Smolian. The tune is captivating, drawing the listener in with the promise of a great record. It’s when the chorus drops the real magic happens. Remember, though, this is just the first track! “Won’t Take Me Alive” follows suit with the Southern funk/blues style and keeps the pace reasonable whilst ensuring the upbeat nature of the tune is taken note of.
“Dirty Mind” is where the record really shows its personality. Once again, it maintains the style of its predecessors, but it incorporates an element of socially acceptable sleaze to the mix. The line “I keep my hands clean, but you know I got a dirty mind” speaks to the listener, almost challenging them to accept the darker aspect of their personality and to give in to their desires. The riffing from Notto at the tail end of the track is an air guitarist’s wet dream!
It’s hard to pick out a standout song from this record, but “Roam” would be a strong contender. It is a ballad of the highest quality. It emphasizes the very best that Dirty Honey has to offer with its emotionally-driven lyrics and the ear-candy guitar riffs that tie the whole experience together. This one song could be a legacy in itself for the band and, in my mind, is akin to epics such as “November Rain,” Nothing Else Matters,” or, dare I even say it, “Free Bird.” “Coming Home (Ballad of the Shire)” continues the ballad-esque style with an acoustic melody. Once again, it is a terrific track, and whilst it doesn’t meet the grandiose heights of “Roam,” that does not detract from its quality.
The second half of the record maintains the fantastic level of musical craftsmanship as the album’s predeceasing tunes, and while I could go into further detail, I would now just urge you to give this album a spin. The LA-based quartet has built on an already fantastic start to their career with Can’t Find the Brakes, and if they maintain this level of quality, not even the sky will be the limit for Dirty Honey.
Can’t Find The Brakes Track Listing:
1. Don’t Put Out the Fire
2. Won’t Take Me Alive
3. Dirty Mind
5. Get a Little High
6. Coming Home (Ballad of the Shire)
7. Can’t Find the Brakes
9. Ride On
10. You Make it All Right
11. Rebel Son
Run Time: 45:43
Record Label: Dirt Records
Release Date: November 3, 2023