Almost Honest - The Hex of Penns Woods
Argonauta Records - November 2023
Stoner, doom, hard rock
New Cumberland, Pennsylvania's Almost Honest have been chugging away at their patented sexy Viking funk rock for about a decade, and each release has found them honing their craft and topping their previous outing without fail. This upward trend has shown no sign of slowing down, and on their new LP "The Hex of Penns Woods" they've added rocket fuel to whatever they've been pumping into the rock 'n roll tank. "Hex" is the product of a laser-focused, pro-shop, confident Almost Honest. They've always fucking rocked, and this is an album that says, without debate, "we know we fucking rock". The production is clear but meaty, the musicianship is top-notch, and added layers of varied vocals and surprise instrumentation create an eleven-track trip that has a twist around every bend, inducing more than one happy "WTF" aloud to myself on first listen. The opening track alone is worth taking the dive, an absolute barnburner that fires on all cylinders and welcomes you to the proceedings by melting your face off and delivering riff after sludgy riff of slamming heavy. Early Clutch and Red Fang lurk in the grooves, but this is all Almost Honest as they piledrive eardrums into oblivion. Every subsequent track is its own beast, filled with its own quirks and style without losing the signature stoner heavy at the core of the band's sound. Rather than spoil every surprise, we'll run through the highlights. Want bluesy licks and group vocals? "Laugher of the Deer Owl" has you covered. Horns going together with guitar like PB&J? Bite into "Where the Quakers Dwell". Personal favorite "Haunted Hunter" brings a riotous stomp with drum work that dazzles as it shuffles and pounds, and the funky keys are the icing on top you didn't know you needed. "Ballad of a Mayfly" is a ballad and more, bringing to mind Helmet in its harder-edged passages, and "Goliaths Lamp" cranks up the aggression with cutting riffs and grimy bass licks. Almost Honest have been on the scene for a while now, and its past due they're given recognition as cream of the crop. "The Hex of Penns Woods" catapults the gang into another league, and these Dutch country boys make no beans about it. They've become masters of their craft, and sexy Viking ones at that.
(Written by Kyle SB)