A friend urged me to listen to Honeyhoney. Each day for several days in a row, he’d approach me and ask me if I’d listened to Honeyhoney yet. Once I finally did though, I found he was right; there’s something there. While I had intended to write a review on another one man, one woman band in Sleigh Bells, I just felt compelled to do this one first.
“Angel of Death” opens the album, a soft, bluesy number that speaks of tragedy. It begins with a little acoustic strumming reminiscent of The Band’s “The Weight.” It’s relatively simple melody that lends itself well to the dulcet tones of vocalist Suzanne Santo.
“Glad I’ve Done What I Did” is a twangy, rolling rhythm peppered with banjo. It’s accented by Ben Jaffe’s backing vocals, which harmonize nicely with those of Suzanne Santo. Its lyrics focus on not having regrets about the past, however bad it may seem. Here Santo displays some of her vocal range while still maintaining that sultry, smoky quality in her vocals.
“Ohio” is my favorite song about Ohio since “Cleveland Rocks!” by The Presidents of the United States of America and “Ohio is for Lovers” by Hawthorne Heights. Of all the tracks on the album, this is the one that I could not get out of my head. I love the way Suzanne sings Oh-hi-oh, leading into its haunting chorus: “Holy roller, make some sound before your time goes underground. You built the stage, I throw it down.” I also really like the lyric:
Sweat your summers hot and sweet. I run your streets with my bare feet, but you still got the coldest cold I know…Ohio.”
The next song is decidedly Country, a moving song highlighted by some sweet as the band name suggests harmonies and just the right combination of strings instruments. Though I’m not prone to listening to Country music, Honeyhoney has a lot of folk, blues, and jazz elements, combined with an easy to love pop flair. There is a lot of talent and layers to this band. “Don’t Know How” beautifully portrays a difficult break up and the emotions that come with it.
“Turn That Finger Around” is a reminder to those people who blame everyone else for the problems in their lives, when the fault is clearly their own. It’s a catchy, upbeat ditty with clever lyrics like: “The neighbors in the hotel lobby heard your shotgun wedding going off. I’d hate to be stranger, but I that I am cut from the same cloth.” It’s hard not to like the chorus when Suzanne hits that note on “Oh darling.” It’s also hard not to sing along.
The more songs I hear, the more I appreciate the cleverly written lyrics in them. “I Don’t Mind” opens with the lyric:
I’ve got a grave within my chest you fill up. That’s where you rest. Oh, my haunted heart don’t see your ghost, but I wish it did. I wish for that most.”
This song is kind of a hoedown. It’s got a fast paced beat you can dance to. It’s a nice departure from somewhat sad earlier tracks.
“Old School Friends” is a story song that almost anyone can relate to. Its fast paced, bouncy rythym and down south grit make it a short, yet memorable song.
“Let’s Get Wrecked” is a classic good girl gone bad anthem. It’s a song about getting in trouble and enjoying the hell out of it. While it celebrates doing what’s wrong, it comes off as sarcastic and still somewhat innocent while subtly inserting some depth with the lyric, “real love is harder than I ever could have known.” It’s a wild ride that I recommending trying at least once.
“LA River” is a refreshing change of pace. A stripped down piano number that showcases some falsetto from Ben Jaffe, who’s prior resume included music for television and movies. Santo also had ties to Hollywood, as she had a few small roles on shows such as Medium and Withouit a Trace.
The penultimate song is “All on You”, a somewhat slower track that shows off Santo’s sweet pipes. There are moments where she sounds like Taylor Swift and she demonstrates the control she has when she does some nice runs and her voice rolls like waves in the ocean. This song combines the stripped down piano sound demonstrated on “LA River” with the gusto displayed on “Let’s Get Wrecked.”
I want whiskey when I’m sick and a man when I’m well. But it’s nice to have them both sometimes when I feel like raising hell, so don’t save me…”
“Thin Line” is the perfect cap to Billy Jack, capturing both the raw sexuality only hinted at in earlier songs and the strong word play evidenced throughout. Driven by a bass drum beat and a devil-may-care attitude, “Thin Line” is the culmination of the musical talents of each individual and a powerful vocal performance by Suzanne Santo. While she pursued a career in modeling at a young age and has dabbled in acting, it’s clear that she has found her true calling in singing. If you’re looking for something different, unafraid to bend the expectations of genre and what is expected, take a chance on Honeyhoney. Take it from a guy who really would rather not listen to Country music that these two have something special and I look forward to what comes next from this talented duo.