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Design By Humans
Published On: Fri, May 12th, 2017

Honey West: Bad Old World

Honey West
Bad Old World
(Readout Records)

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A smart, sly lyric infuses opener “The September Issue” and pretty much pushes all the guitars, bass, drum and vocal gems on Honey West’s debut, Bad Old World. The duo of New York Shakespearean actor Ted Zurkowski and rock and roll royalty Ian McDonald (founding member of King Crimson and Foreigner and the guy who manned the sax solo on “Bang a Gong (Get It On)”) delivers twelve solid rock tunes here. The guitar counterpoint is reminiscent of Harrison and Lennon at their best, while guest starring players round out the Honey West brew, including drummer Steve Holley (Paul McCartney & Wings, Ian Hunter), McDonald’s son Maxwell on bass, as well as Graham Maby. Expansive story songs like “Terry & Julie” has a rich harmony vocal bridge and the soft side of punk is revealed on “Generationless Man.” At the halfway point, “California” has a laconic beat, best Zurkowksi vocals, poignant set up, and singable chorus. Poppy “Brand New Car” (McDonald, known for keys/guitar and wind instruments, manages flute here) and last song “Dementia” (Mr. McDonald managing sax) make a truly perfect album. When speaking with McDonald, who produced here, he impressed upon me how indeed he (and Zurkowski) see Bad Old World as an “album” in the old school meaning of that term. But from there the word “old” will get no more mileage for a collection that feels this lively and fresh. There is also more than a twinge of New York City sensibility to Bad Old World fed from Zurkowski’s lyrics, giving Honey West another kernel of a distinctive edge. Honey West’s Bad Old World is wonderful listening indeed.

 

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Honey West: Bad Old World