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Love Is Hard
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  • "I feel the rattle/shakin' in my teeth," sings Honey's Dan Wise on Love Is Hard, and his listeners should know the feeling: the band's mix of garage, psych, and punk delivers noise and attitude in equal -- and copious -- amounts. The ferocious album opener, "Monk," is one of 2016's most unrelenting rock songs, simmering with impatience that boils over in its choruses and showing why comparisons to bands like the Mirrors and the Dead Boys are warranted. Honey put their own spin on this sound, however, streamlining these influences into something modern: there are no spare notes or fills to hinder their momentum. While "Monk" is Love Is Hard's finest moment, the rest of the album reveals that Honey has more range than might be expected. Raucous songs like "Taking a Ride," "Born," and "MFLH" hew closer to traditional garage punk, but the sheer energy of the band's performances makes them more than homages; elsewhere, the dark and droning "Comes Down" leans into stoner rock and Spacemen 3. Still, Love Is Hard's best moments harness Honey's power to more structured songwriting, as on "White City" and the thrashy "White Noise." Revved-up songs like these are addictive, helping to make Love Is Hard a strong debut that leaves listeners wanting more. ~ Heather Phares
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