Black Honey comfortably cemented themselves in the indie rock scene back at their fruition in 2015, with their unique, vintage sound and aesthetic. From the very beginning, Izzy Phillips’ stage presence and iconic outfits have captured the attention of audiences all around the world. With nods to old-school cinema and pop culture icons throughout their work, it’s no wonder the impact they’ve had on the scene and the success they have attained have been huge.
Since their critically acclaimed, more than well received debut self-titled album, they’ve toured the world with bands such as Queens of the Stone Age, and became the face and soundtrack of Roberto Cavalli’s Milan Fashion Week show. With all that it brought, it’s no wonder that fans have been holding their breath to see if they will return with the same punchy sound and wicked vision as they provided with their first born. And unsurprisingly the follow up, “Written & Directed” is unapologetically Black Honey in all their glory; giving us yet more powerful tracks to satisfy our taste buds as well as some vulnerability. The most important message of the album is to “inspire her (Izzy Phillips’) cult-like fanbase and fill the female-shaped gap that she felt so acutely when she was growing up and discovering rock music for the first time”.
The opening track, ‘I Like The Way You Die’ sets the tone for that message and the rest of the album perfectly. With electrifying guitar riffs and entrancing lyrics, it has the magic touch that makes the band’s entire discography sound coherent and unique to their peers - thanks to their old school influences. It is the perfect addition to that walk-like-a-badass playlist you have sitting in your Spotify library for those trips to big Tesco or your one walk a day. The bass line pumping in your ears underneath Phillips’ vocal brings the track together and feels like something straight out of a Tarantino movie which is a promising start to the album.
Followed by singles ‘Run for Cover’ and ‘Beaches’ (the former being a track that was produced alongside Mike from Royal Blood; originally meant for them to release), the streak continues with the same vigor that the opening track brought to the table. These tracks cement their reputation in our hearts as the band that will get you through tough times and give you the confidence you need to take over the world. It is easy to see why these are the singles the band had decided to release, with their memorable choruses and hard-hitting lyrics.
The album takes a bit more of a calm and somber tone from here on out but still with the same kick, hidden behind smoother guitar riffs and slower melodies. This is present in tracks like ‘Summer ‘92’ and ‘Fire’, and also includes fan favourites ‘Believer’ and ‘Disinfected’ which give the second part of the album a more of a laid back vibe; with the same lyricism that is present throughout but with less of an in-your-face feel.
Whilst beautifully written with a bittersweet melody, closing the album with the ballad ‘Gabrielle’ is a rather questionable end to such a powerful and confidence-inducing album - though they pulled it off just like anyone would expect them to.
With the album being so heavily tipped and anticipated with the delays, it was worth the wait to hear Black Honey and Phillips’ incredible lyricism come to light once again, even with the slow burn of the second part of the record.