To suffice with the label “band” would be a serious disservice to Jess Joy and Andrew Martin, the swamp rockers who make up Moon Honey (your local eclectic Echo Park musicians formerly from the Louisiana bayou).
Sure, they are a band, and they make music. But the way they express themselves (take a look at any of their album/EP covers, stage attire or accompanying art installations) begets something bigger than “band.” Music is certainly the main attraction in their artistic endeavors, still, there is so much else mixed in that give their style a magical and spiritual atmosphere. Calling Moon Honey just a band sells short their commitment to thought provoking and meaningful self expression.
Moon Honey’s latest album, ‘Mixed Media on Women,’ a sonic collection that would pair well with the right paraphernalia, is a perfect example of their pathos. In its 13 songs, we take a journey into ourselves as we navigate through human emotions, the affects of media on women and various abstract concepts, starting with the biggest abstract of all: life.
“Life Has No Meaning,” is the perfect intro to an album seeking balance. It poses questions, supposes some answers but comes to no conclusions to the meaning of life, instead letting its listeners fill the song with their own value.
Lead singer Joy plays with her voice in the song and throughout the album, sending it down alleys and around corners as she pleases. The instrumentals, led by Martin’s guitar, race to catch up with her, and we follow along to reach the conclusion that, “To say life has no meaning is not to say it has no value.”
In “Mask Maker,” the microscope Moon Honey puts on the world is pointed inward to observe human emotions via our many masks. From happiness to sadness and even good
to bad, the song reflects on inflections of the self catalyzed by repeating themes forced on women in the media to isolate and de-mask it. Joy offers a female perspective throughout the song and accompanying music video to show the dizzying and oftentimes damaging effects of over-sexualizing women.
While Joy’s introspective lyrics paint vivid pictures, snapshots of an existential quest, Martin’s guitar playing drives the pace of our journey. Martin’s instrumentals slither to and fro, contorting and capturing the essence of Joy’s words, and together, they create a living mosaic of fragmented shapes pieced together by concepts and sound.
“White Satin,” is one of those mosaics. Martin and Joy feed of of each other’s talents, interloping and playing with each other to create a song salient of their sound. The result is a fluid and rather stirring single.
In “Betta Fish” Joy turns her vocals into a dust dervish of syllables as she turns out words in a rapid string of statements. Her ability to go in and out of a song with incredible pace and range is sometimes disorienting, but never disappointing.
The album as a whole may seem abstract, but Moon Honey distill bits of themselves into songs such as “Bayou Chorus,” a song that pays homage to their Louisiana roots. It is their background, presentation and new surroundings that culminate into something greater than a band.
The picture is complete when you see Moon Honey on stage. Joy’s ornate outfits are inspired in part by lyrics from the album (see the reference to Monarch Butterflies in the opening track), and Martin’s physical movements are as fluid as his guitar sounds on record. They never demand your attention, and quite frankly I’m not sure they even need it in the first place as they seem completely in sync and entangled in their art. Still, you’re inclined to give it to them without needing much of an explanation.
Like most great art, it’s hard to pinpoint where the feeling of intrigue or appreciation comes from. It’s intrinsic and instinctual, and the how or why is less important than the feeling. Like great art, I can’t pinpoint the source of intrigue I have for Moon Honey , but I know it’s powerful and warranted.
‘Mixed Media on Women’ is available now. To hear more from Moon Honey or to find out where they’ll be playing next, visit their website here.