Black Honey’s discography, compiled of their 2018 self-titled debut and 2021’s Top 10 follow-up, ‘Written & Directed‘, has allowed Izzy Bee Phillips to become a spokesperson for life’s outliers, connecting her with like-minded souls who resonate with her memories of adolescent struggles and attempts to find a connection in an often-difficult world. But it’s not until now, with the release of their third studio album ‘A Fistful of Peaches’, that Phillips has fully bared her soul.
Listeners are first greeted with the murderous ‘Charlie Bronson’ – possibly the band’s most exhilarating track to date. Lyrically, the track addresses the issue of female anger being seen as ‘unfeminine’, it sees Black Honey go completely feral, serving a middle finger to stereotypes around female emotion, with its first verse seeing the protagonist kill a girl called Isobel.
‘Heavy’ quickly follows, made to be played in stadiums, it addresses the concept of grief. A homage to the founder of the band’s fan club, who passed away from COVID, the track is a reference to the traumatic death of Artax in The Neverending Story – adding a sense of mysticality and realness to an album highlight.
A call for empathy, and a message to her younger self that Izzy hopes will bring comfort to those who need it, ‘Up Against It’ is a moment of realisation and understanding of the challenges she overcame during her childhood. It reminds the listener to give themselves a break, a shoulder pat that reaffirms life struggles don’t make you a bad person. In allowing Black Honey to share their real-life experiences, ‘Up Against It’ permits the band to feel more developed and personal than ever before.
Featuring the signature sass that Black Honey have become renowned for, ‘Out Of My Mind’ sees them take the classic, optimistic, Black Honey melody and interpolate it with Phillips’ dissociative experiences to create a compassionate, vulnerable track that uses picturesque lyrics to transport the listener into a house party. Bottling that socially anxious feeling of analysing your every utterance, ‘Out Of My Mind’ feels like a diary entry, both intimate and reflective.
‘A Fistful Of Peaches’ carries on from where ‘Written & Directed’ left off, where the latter spotlights Black Honey’s ability to merge contrasting genres to create their own – ‘A Fistful Of Peaches’ builds on that, yet feels more polished and streamlined. Where ‘Cut the Cord’ displays the band’s poppier side, ‘Tombstone’ then beckons a mosh pit with its full-throttle chorus.
Enabling Phillips to process her own experiences with sexual assault to take back power, ‘I’m A Man’ sees her assume the role of a sexual predator as it picks up the baton from Nirvana’s ‘Polly’, mastering the role of the type of person that women spend their lives in fear of. As its chorus repeats, ‘Because I can / ‘Cause I’m a man’, its hard-hitting message becomes evident.
Propelled by driving drums accompanied with distorted guitar lines, ‘OK’ then urges fans to be kinder to themselves whilst taking an honest, open reflection on mental health. Fighting off the idea that total happiness is a permanent state of mind on one hand, whilst embracing the realities of platonic love with the other, ‘OK’ flourishes at its chorus, where Izzy Bee’s vocals take centre stage.
It’s a brave feat to be so vulnerable in your art, but with this leap forward Black Honey have created an album that packs a real punch. Filled to the brim with the band’s staple sassy charm, ‘A Fistful Of Peaches’ showcases not only the development of the band, but the development of the individuals within it as they navigate the music industry and wider world. Overall, ‘A Fistful Of Peaches is a triumph’.