Dirty Honey – Dirty Honey

21 May 2021 / by Natasha Bernstein
The cover to the band Dirty Honey's EP Dirty Honey
Album reviews
Dirty Honey Dirty Honey
Released: May 1, 2021
Label: Dirt Records
Blues Rock / Hard Rock
Aerosmith / Led Zeppelin
The Wire, Take My Hand, Another Last Time

To all those rock fans out there craving for something new and wondering, “what happened to rock?”, you can abandon your worries and focus on the new and upcoming band, Dirty Honey. The quartet made up of Marc Labelle (lead vocals), John Notto (lead guitar), Justin Smolian (bass), and Corey Coverstone (drums), has finally released their self-titled debut album Dirty Honey.

Forming in 2017, they are an LA-based band that’s been playing in clubs around the city ever since. The band sparked some attention in the last few years for their old-school-rock style and opening for The Who, Slash, and two nights for Guns N’ RosesNot in this Lifetime” tour. 

What separates Dirty Honey from the countless bands duplicating classic 70s acts, is their way of incorporating classic-rock signatures with a more modern-day sound encompassing different styles of rock. The Zeppelin influences are loud and clear, but that doesn’t keep Dirty Honey from adding in some originality with their catchy grooves and strong melodies. 

While Labelle belts out lyrics, at times resembling Robert Plant, he is complemented by Notto’s definitive, gritty, and in-your-face riffs. Without a doubt, Notto’s playing is one of the highlights throughout the album, particularly on tracks like ‘The Morning’ and ‘Another Last Time’. 

He leaves traces of Joe Perry’s influence on tracks like ‘Tied Up’ and ‘Take My Hand’, while also adding his own flair to the rock infused blues. 

The band’s singles, ‘California Dreamin’ ’ and ‘Gyspy’, are also well-polished songs with catchy choruses and unchained energy. But, although catchy, there are definitely greater songs in their catalogue and certainly some hidden gems on their debut that deserve some love. 

No Warning’, a perfect example of a hidden gem, channels a more laidback energy and particular groove, in contrast to the steely riff in the intro. Labelle’s angsty approach to singing elevates every track on the album with a sudden uniqueness and an uncommon, paradoxically rough but polished voice. 

Overall, the album shows that there is a possibility for rock to be back in the limelight similarly to how it once was before. The genre itself continues to evolve and spawn as the decades go on, breaking apart into hundreds of little sub-genres. As rock continues to grow, there seems to be hope that a new following and generation will transform with it. If it’s not at the start of this process, Dirty Honey is definitely speeding it up.