Friday, August 19, 2022

Black Honey celebrates female power and rage with new single 'Charlie Bronson'

Black Honey is a British four-piece indie rock band formed in Brighton in 2014. The group released a self-titled debut EP in 2014, of which the successful single ‘Spinning Wheel’ came along. 

After being signed to Foxfive Records, the group released their debut album in 2018, followed by the ‘Written & Directed’ album in 2021.

The group has decided to take things in a bit of a different direction now with their new single. ‘Charlie Bronson’ embraces a raw, unfiltered and defiant sound that faces personal demons and societal expectations. The track refers to the notorious Luton-born criminal, who was once dubbed the"most violent prisoner in Britain" by the UK press. The song channels lead singer, Izzy Baxter Phillips' rage in regards to the world's downplaying of female power, as well as the pressure of living up to the societal expectations of sex and gender.


In a press release, Phillips claims the single is inspired by observations of how she was treated differently when she was hitting a downfall with mental illness. She states “I was medicated, my shine dimmed and I began to see how the world rewards women who turn invisible. ‘Charlie Bronson’ is my rage”The track is certainly spilling over with rage as it explores inner demons and “empowers loser-ism”, as the band says.


The tune has an anthemic feel to it, providing inspiration for women to stand up against the norm. It’s telling a story, from the perspective of a woman, who can finally be the protagonist of her own complex narrative. Phillips even uses popular female protagonists who are commonly misrepresented in the media, with lyrics such as: “Gaslightin' myself again, lay me down with Marilyn” and “Big smile just like Harley Quinn”. These lines expand the metaphor that women who are loud about their opinions and show confidence are oftentimes seen as “crazy” or criminal. She also digs into the mental health side of the story, with the chorus repeating “I'm just so lucky, peak psychopathy // There's no in between, I'll take you down with me”. These lines touch on feelings that there is no in between from “crazy” or “medicated”. The lyrics are full of rage rooted in feelings of being misunderstood – a feeling that many women share over generations. These deep, personal, story-like words are delivered in a classic punk, Riot Grrrl style. 


The guitar and the drums have those punk rock beats but with a modern, fuzzy-sounding twist to them. The instruments fall in the background against the vocals more than usual on this track, so there isn’t any prominent harmony or melody. 


Accompanying the single is the music video which is set in a boxing gym and features multiple strong, powerful female bodybuilders and a highly animated performance from the band. In the video, it becomes clear how much rage Phillips, guitarist Chris Ostler, bassist Tommy Taylor, and drummer Alex Woodward are truly expressing through these lyrics.


The band have announced their future third album, titled 'Feminism and Gardening' but are yet to reveal a release date. Black Honey claim that the album is full of ferocity, with a quintessential retro rock’n’roll sound. Fans should expect more female empowerment, some self-deprecation and honesty.

Hope Orr


Image: ‘Charlie Bronson’ Official Single Cover (Press)


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