Helltown, the newest EP from Los Angeles based blues/punk rocker Harold Honey is a renegade rock soundtrack to damnation, and there’s a whole lotta shakin goin on in the Pit! This three song EP is rebel rock at its finest. Honey’s deep gritty voice grinds out dark lyrical storytelling while supported by wild choral backing vocals that evoke imagery of a band of fallen angels. It’s easy to imagine this album serving as the musical backdrop for a grindhouse flick set in a filthy desert roadhouse.
The title track describes the journey to Helltown with an upbeat, road ready rock riff and lyrics that peg Helltown as “a place where the lost souls go.” The song conveys the idea of descending into darkness with reckless abandon, though the narrator slyly warns that “You can have a little fun /but don’t come undone.” adding an ominous note to the opening track. Damnation never sounded so smooth.
The next song on the EP, “Paradise Club” features vocals (and a skillful baritone sax) courtesy musician Jo Elless. Continuing the narrative feel of the EP, Elless acts as a hostess, welcoming the listener to this bizarre nightclub filled with strange pleasures and freakish attractions while her saxophone rips a slow, lumbering riff in the background. This song evokes a speakeasy or roadhouse hosted freakshow with surreal characters, opulent seating (a rhinestone encrusted bean bag chair and champagne filled Jacuzzi are listed among the club’s amenities) and an interestingly lewd list of rules of conduct. The song is a riot and sets a great tone for the nightlife of Helltown.
Next up, Honey returns to the microphone for the hypnotic “Motorcycle Song” in which Honey boats of the badassery of the narrator’s biker persona. The song is pure rockabilly braggadocio, with a notable background vocal performance of wailing falsetto voice that sounds for all the world like demons singing to accompany the main tale.
“Bye Bye Beautiful Flower” a more heartfelt groove serves up classic Beatles type ditty with slow moving rhythm, meshed against well placed Organ and Keyboard accents, dynamic musical flow and an impressive finale.
The final track “Hollywood Jesus (Vegas Bound) waves you in for a safe landing with its psychedelic musical flair, impressive harmonies and rock solid slide guitar touches.
All told, Helltown is a good, solid rebel rock album. It is rough around the edges but holds a strong DIY charm. The overall tone is perfectly suited for those who love a little darkness, a little wiggle and a whole lot of rock in their rebel rock. It is a solid offering from Harold Honey and is well worth the download – seven out of ten stars.
More information about Harold Honey can be found at http://www.haroldhoney.com
Helltown is available on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/helltown-ep/id573588652
Review by Travis Legge edited by Cyrus Rhodes
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