If you’ve kept up with my reviews over the years you already know I love rock duos. Part of that has to do with minimalism. Rock n roll doesn’t need an orchestra to express the most carnal of desires. But most of my affection comes from the chemistry duos have. Without bouncing ideas off multiple minds, duos have to focus on what works and what doesn’t. Overthinking compositions makes it nearly impossible to play but stripping things down can weaken the overall experience.
Cincinnati duo Suck The Honey have found the perfect balance with their debut LP All Hail Having Failed.
The opening track “Love The Best” casually jangles along at a retro ballad pace and lead me to believe Suck The Honey was going to be yet another middle of the road garage rock duo. However, halfway through the song, I realized there was more to these guys that I initially thought. The clumsy vocal delivery immediately changed into a Kurt Cobain-meets-Mike Patton kind of thing. With that fakeout, I knew All Hail Having Failed was going to be different.
The plot twists didn’t stop there either. The lead single “Bite Yr Tongue” is a blues-rock stomp, while the very next track “They Want Meat” is a snotty punk anthem. Going from The Black Keys to The Sex Pistols isn’t an easy task without losing at least a little focus and direction. Yet Suck The Honey float from genre to genre while maintaining their core sound. The perfect blend of tongue in cheek with and bone shattering aggression.
All Hail Having Failed isn’t all bruises and bites though. There’s an unexpected dose of vulnerability sprinkled throughout.
Songs like “In Love With A Ghost” show Suck The Honey are fully capable of adding their signature wit to a seemingly twisted love song. The album closer “Truly Alone and Lonely” is reverb-ladened anti-love song is equal parts Nirvana Unplugged and Hank Williams, showcasing yet another unexpected side of the band. All of these elements are delivered in an endearing DIY kind of way signaling Suck The Honey is fine tuning their craft even before their debut album ends.
All Hail Having Failed is being released on vinyl through Romanus Records. A label run by the blues-rock duo Brother O’ Brother and something about that is oddly satisfying. Between their own releases and acts like The Ghost Wolves, those guys know that important, indescribable chemistry only duos have. Suck The Honey are in good hands and if All Hail Having Failed is any indicator, their future is a bright one.
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All Hail Having Failed is available on vinyl Sept. 30th exclusively at Romanus Records.