From Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Los Angeles, California, the members of Moon Honey have traveled down the yellow brick road to find a home in Echo Park where they cultivated a unique swamp rock sound and stage presence. Over the last few years, Moon Honey, the brainchild of vocalist Jess Joy and guitarist Andrew Martin, have brandished the perfect amalgamation of beautiful theater and face melting rock n’ roll via an eclectic range of music.
But now, one of Echo Park’s dreamiest bands says goodnight with a final album, Dreamlet, released July 1. Closing the chapter on their band and relationship, Martin and Joy step away from their 8-year long project, but not without leaving us with a very unique and personal goodbye.
“Dreamlet,” is only 7 songs long, but in a short amount of time, Joy and Martin walk us through a love they shared as two inquisitive spirits; a relationship that inspired their artistic work.
The album packs quite an emotional punch that leaves listeners with a bittersweet sense of closure. Moments are intoxicating and painful, all encompassing and distant, overwhelming and then lost. It’s very much an album rooted in experience and personal reflection.
The opening single, “Sideline” dives right into the end of a relationship where love remains, but the couple is no longer intact. In Joy’s voice, there is pain, regret, and longing, but not contempt. Martin’s guitar solos balance the tune, serving as an emotional reprieve and lifting up Joy’s vocals, making “Sideline” one of the best and crunchiest sad guitar rock songs you’ve ever heard.
Accompanied by a music video that chronicles Joy’s and Martin’s relationship, “Sideline” is made even more emotionally impactful. Shot in super 8 by Joy, there are standalone shots of the city and more personal clips of the pair’s daily life and adventures.
Together, Joy and Martin play important opposites to each other on the album, laying down their love with the utmost care and in the best way they know how; a sidewinding and emotional last hurrah that also helps the two to find their own solid ground.
There is a final lamentation in the song “Love Leech,” where Martin’s guitar is stripped back and sparse. Joy follows suit as she sings a slow and shaky plea, desperate to find the answers to questions that no longer exist.
“Are you the love of my life? I was sure we were true. Why then has one become two?,” Joy sings as she explores the sadness she’s found her relationship in.
After this last expression of loss, the album ends with “What Will,” a song that evokes a sense of solitude that is not completely lonely nor wholly content. But, there is hope and healing, and an appreciation for our cyclical human experience, one that is neither unique nor eternal, but not without value or wonder.
For the past four years, Moon Honey has been part of my Los Angeles experience. I’ve seen and photographed them countless times and enjoyed their on stage personas, from Jess’s moon goddess headpiece to her Mother Monarch outfit, and now I will forever be bummed out over every missed opportunity to see them live.
“Dreamlet” is the perfect last chapter, the final last sentiments of a band whose entire discography is less traditional and more a social and auditory experiment that’s definitely worth diving into if you already haven’t.
Words: Patricia Sanchez