Scotty Karate enthralls with his perfectly executed mix of punk, country and folk on new album, Always Honey.
Eccentric proto-punk Country-alt musician Scotty Karate tries to combine the world of punks and cowboys on the new record Always Honey, and he does it with style. Leaning more towards a stripped-back live sound, but able to suddenly flick over to fuzzy, punk-infused guitar now and again, the record has a swagger and confidence that’s tantalisingly addcitive. Recorded live with mostly ‘one takers’, it has a warm and inviting feel that really hits home hard.
Starting with Lot Lot, you get a sense of the fun (or fun fun?) atmosphere littered throughout the album as Scotty Karate opens with an acoustic country ditty that flows wonderfully against lyrics of camaraderie and happiness: “Make a lot lot of people feel good good, its my favourite thing to do”. This then leads into the more electrified yet still subtle Always Honey, a booming bass drum holding the fort as Karate stretches his vocal cords in a rhythmic and pleasing way.
An album of slow beginnings, the record does lean on the side of settled country sounds rather than focussing on the big punk flows but the album still does manage to break this up with a few stylised, energetic pieces. The delightful SSMM ups the pace and leans into the proto-punk side of things with fuzzy guitars and energetic, raw sections, yet still keeping to a bluesy-country flow. Icy Road is not so much punk but has the pace and power of it, drawing on folk-laden thumping drums, sounding like a country-based Mumford and Sons.
On a live album it can sometimes be difficult to wrap the sound in warmth and feeling, but that’s no problem, here. An album highlight is Gone It, a wonderfully serene acoustic track that gently caresses the soul and builds against strong vocal work and dreamy flows as Karate asks, “Do you forget where you come from?”. He’s the DD then brings the country to the forefront, a steady rhythm perfectly accompanying the stripped-back sound and walking bassline. The record ends on X’s on the Prowl, full of that punk energy that’s subtly used throughout the record, this time closing out with big guitars, enigmatic vocals and a sound that walks the line between the proud and the confident.
Always Honey by Scotty Karate is an intriguing listen that playfully moves between country, folk, and punk. You wouldn’t think it would work but Karate wraps it all in his wonderful sincerity and signature playfulness that you can’t help but fall in love with. It has a swagger when necessary and a stripped-back beauty when needed, which helps create a listen you won’t forget soon.