Blood Like Honey are a three-piece group comprised of singer/guitarist Joshua Batch, bassist Tom Joy and drummer James Richardson who, in their own words, make sad punk songs. With bassist Tom once again in charge of production (Marigolds / The Yacht Club / History & Lore), Hurricane Headaches is the direct follow up to the band’s 2017 EP Haunt Me / Love Me and musically sees them continuing the same path set out in that first release.
Opening on lead single “67”, the track feels like a mission statement of what the listener is in for over the next 25 minutes, with an expansive and in-your-face sonic range. What begins with chugging guitars drops down to sparse vocals over a grooving bass line before opening out into an anthemic chorus. This is Blood Like Honey doing what they do best, crafting tracks that are equal parts great to sing along to and to headbang in a mosh pit. The track then drops into the very Pinkerton-era Weezer influenced intro of “Beauchamp House”. The whole track feels like it wears its influences on its sleeve, yet manages to remain fresh and modern thanks to the more subtle nods to the emo revival bands of the 2010s like The Hotelier and Black Foxxes. The band are taking their influences and using them to create something very much their own.
“Annex” is perhaps the most radio friendly and most traditionally pop punk track on the EP. If there’s going to be one song from this release that will blow up, it feels like this will be the one. The track really showcases Joshua’s vocal talents, with him effortlessly jumping octaves between verse and chorus, which when combined with the infectious energy brought through by the tight rhythm section created by Tom and James produces a catchy summer anthem ready for any festival. This is followed by “Earl Grey”, a track with the swagger of a Nirvana track but the production and songwriting craft of the nu-metal explosion of the noughties. Here, the band once again display their ability to collate and build on all their influences to create something distinct.
The EP closes with the beautifully understated “Amsterdam Harbour”, a woozy love song referencing Frank Ocean’s 2011 hit “Novacane”. Lyrically this track is a real standout, with the message and romance behind the song, as well as the EP title, conveyed only through eight lines and a single-word refrain. This song is also sonically a real departure from the four before it, with a drenched reverbed-out production reminiscent of the works of Will Yip (Turnover / Title Fight / La Dispute). Instead of being a punchy rock song, the EP ends on a sleeper hit; when the outro guitar line kicks in the song almost whisks you away like a lullaby, reassuring you that through it all everything will be alright.
Overall, to say Hurricane Headaches is a step forward for the band would be an understatement. Two years is a very long time to be working on just five tracks, but their attention to detail and clear passion for their craft makes it all the more worth it. Nothing about this EP feels rushed and every line fits its purpose – every track is distinct from the last and each one brings something new to the release. This EP may have been a long time coming, but it sure was worth the wait.