Surrey’s Honest and the Crow may be a small band, but their sound is anything but on their debut EP. Hard blues rock may sound a bit like a contradiction until the band launches into moody, noisy choruses, bopping from early 2000s dance rock to a slower, classic hum.
Members of the two-man piece, Maxton Cunningham and Rio Breakell, used to play together in Close Both Doors—which actually shared Cunningham as bassist with another Southridge School garage band, The Racketeers. The duo came out of the breakup of Close Both Doors wanting to keep playing, and in the summer of 2016 they kicked things off with single, “Death, Please Do Us Part.” It’s the opening track on their debut, As We Know It, kicking the album off with a touch of distortion and considerable pep—and sounding vocally like Jet after a long, rough night.
Slurred singing and strumming give the album a muddy, blues feel. “One, two and three/Come on run back to me/I know just where you’ll feel safe” sounds both ominous and helpless on “Heavy Hearts, Heavy Boots” as wild shrieks set off line after line of an increasingly dark story.
The edge eases a bit on “I Want What I Want (You Go Away),” if only ever so slightly, as Breakell playfully—and then potently—plows into a solo before the song amps things back up to the band’s usual pace.
But the track does mark a turn in the short release, showing off a couple of sides to Honest and the Crow as the band settles into itself. It’s a nice break, but when “The Mountain” whirls its way in for a six-minute close, it’s immensely satisfying to listen to the band churn out one more dark number as blues descends fully into rock.
Top Track: “Death, Please Do Us Part”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)