Open Hand’s latest effort, Honey, is an album that has something for everybody. The record blends psychedelic, rock, hip hop, jazz, and international dance into a collection of 17 songs. While Honey may be a little bit of everyone’s taste, it is also an album in search of a voice. While some of the tracks are amazing, others are mediocre, and the different styles of music makes it feel more like a collection of distinct songs rather than one coherent album.
Honey opens with the incredible Herrons. The guitars and chants that kick the song off set the pace for a modern rock song that will have feet tapping and inspire sing-alongs in no time. Herrons is a great song with excellent guitar riffs and a nice solo. The addition of some piano folded into the middle rounds out the track nicely. If all of the songs were this good, Honey would be one of the best albums of 2010.
Unfortunately, Honey suffers from too much change of direction and lack of focus. Bre is an esoteric song sung in a foreign language (German, I believe). The Valley is a modern hip hop song reminiscent of Everlast, and So Low is an odd, off the wall piece that seems to be more filler than meat.
The stand out songs on Honey are the ones that make this an album worth checking out. So Far opens with a blues riff that bleeds into a psychedelic vocal which stands out from the rest of the songs. With a solid bass line, a tribal drum beat, and blues guitar riffs perfectly placed in the verses, So Far is an exceptionally crafted song.
Risky, while being one of the shortest tracks on the disc, is one of the strongest on the record. Clocking in at just over 2 minutes, Risky is a mellow song with a nice beat that is easy to listen to. Sounding eerily like it was influenced by the 80s act, A-Ha, Risky is a grand musical interlude that leaves you wanting more.
The lead single, Cool, is perhaps the best song on Honey. Another short and sweet track, Cool packs a punch and leaves a lasting impression. Peppered with great vocals and a mean guitar riff that gets stuck in your head, Cool is another reason to check out this record. The guitar work alone is worthy of a few spins, but the song blends all of Open Hand’s music styles perfectly, creating what is an orgasm for the ear canal. After several spins, there is still something new and enjoyable to pick out of this song. Cool is an excellent song and if there is only one song on Honey you should hear, it’s this one.
Blending several different types of music and forcing them all into the record sometimes creates a masterpiece and sometimes creates an album that is searching for its true voice. Unfortunately for Open Hand, Honey does the latter. While there are some solid moments of brilliance on the record, there are too many times of uncertainty or just plain silliness to make it a true contender.
Ryo’s Rating: 6.5 (out of 10)
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