Several years ago, Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears played an in-store concert at Streetlight Santa Cruz. The band blew the audience away with its driving blend of soul, garage, rock, psych and punk.
Lewis and company just dropped the band’s fifth album, Backlash, the first since 2013’s Electric Slave.
The album sees the band doing what it does best: creating driving grooves full of gritty guitar, spot-on drums, catchy horns and Lewis’ skillful and catchy vocals.
As American Songwriter puts it:
“There’s occasional funk, as in the hip-swiveling “Global,” and even a six-minute psychedelic/jazzy ballad (“Maroon”) that closes the disc. But this is predominantly a rowdy, raucous, garage-punk album with nods to the wonderfully unhinged likes of Swamp Dogg, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Andre Williams, who also mixed the wilder aspects of rock with a crazed soulful attack.
“If the frantic Black Keys-styled riffing “Shadow People” was slowed down, you’d even have a decent heavy metal track. It’s hard to make out what’s going on lyrically since Lewis’ wild-eyed vocals lash out like a rabid dog (and there are no printed words), but it really doesn’t matter. The appropriately titled Backlash is all about gritty attitude, pulsating groove and the kind of freewheeling, irreverent swagger that defines music’s most iconic figures.”