Loud, defiant, and fun, the music of South London’s Honey Joy embodies all of the core elements of punk. Their latest record, ‘II’, feels like it was ripped straight from the late 70s kicking and screaming only to land abruptly in the here and now at a political time in which a true punk rock revival is necessary.
Guitar shredding to a head banging beat, ‘Pain’ is a brutal song in which vocalist Meg Tinsley cathartically screams out the feelings she has seen in patients during her nursing career, feelings of extreme mental anguish that cannot be extinguished with drugs. The slow grinding momentum of this song perfectly encapsulates the feeling of the pain in mental form.
Taking a more fun approach to the screeching punk, ‘Finally Home’ features a rapid drum beat, with mid-track guitar break that only heighten the energy when the full band sound returns to the track. Whilst this song is predominantly positive in the subject of being at peace in one place, there is still some defiance in the lyrics. “Even though I’m broke as hell” is a line that is perfectly fitting of the record’s flip flop between being happy and sad.
Almost every track on the record clocks in under two minutes a piece, as Honey Joy takes a kick and run approach to writing music. An exception to this is ‘Queen Ray’, which is not only a standard song length, but also feels like a welcome respite to the harshness of the rest of ‘II’. As a whole, the record is very dark and grunge heavy, however, ‘Queen Ray’ is more upbeat and melodic, and leans closer to 80s punk music bordering glam rock, feeling fun and care-free.
Punk is rooted in politics with its anti-establishment nature, and whilst Honey Joy approaches the music with a lot of emotion and angst, it often comes across as punk for punk sake with very little actually being said throughout the record.
‘II’ has a very well defined sound, and however niche the market for that sound may be, it doesn’t matter to Honey Joy as they clearly have fun in making their music. Each track is so buzzing with energy and attitude, it’s enough to make you pop on a pair of Dr. Martens and kick down some doors.