With a crash of the cymbals and an eruption of guitar might, Honest Men fire on all cylinders in their second EP, Honest Men, which is available this coming May 25th across America and abroad via online music venders like Amazon. Cleverly disrupting the dribble of 2018 Top 40 with their rock n’ roll intensity, this Baylor University-born foursome isn’t holding back when it comes to amplifier abuse in their latest release, which is burning up indie charts and garnering the band immense praise from critics and listeners alike. But all that being said, if you told Honest Men that they were on the cusp of developing a hot new subgenre of rock that is going to challenge the heavyweights for a share of the market, I have a feeling that they would reject the notion, as they don’t seem like a group motivated by a hostile industrial takeover. In actuality, they seem like the kind of working class musicians who live for the performance more than the big dollar signs, which is more than an invigorating motion in the stale state of current music.
In the 1980s, pop experienced a wave of deliberate indulgence in both format and delivery that had a unique effect on its direction. The punks rejected this indulgence and fled to the left-field underground to create a style of postmodernism that broke every rule, barrier and restriction that was set before it. The metalheads instead embraced the indulgence, giving way to hair bands like Twisted Sister and Poison who essentially personified hedonism in their music. All of it ended up setting the stage for grunge and alternative rock, an aggressive response to both of the clashing attitudes. Honest Men have found a charismatic way of channeling the apex of that transition from the 80’s into the 90’s, where morbid decadence is slashed clean through by the stop-start songwriting dynamic of the Pixies. This extended play, or any of their music for that matter, is hardly an exercise in throwback marketing, but instead a revival of the revolutionary energy that that generation produced.
Do Honest Men synthesize their harmonies? Yes, in a seductively irreverent fashion. Does their rock roll? With a momentum that not even a Killers record could challenge. “Lacy Lake” and “Lose My Head” feature power chords that demand attention. We could spend a lifetime breaking down Honest Men’s place in the pecking order of pop music, or we could simply sit back and watch history play out. This EP speaks for itself in terms of talent and skill, whether it be the lead-off “Mad Love,” that invites us to shed our inhibitions and throw ourselves into a wild wager on life, or the pastoral simplicity of the love song “Rose,” that could warm the coldest of hearts on a rainy day with its enfolding piano. There isn’t a need to debate music that can speak to you on a different level like this. Honest Men not only gives us a glimpse into what blue collar artists can do when provided with refined studio capabilities, but also what we can look forward to as the next era of music comes creeping around the corner.