Pretending to be something you’re not is an old trick in pop music, so prevalent in fact that it has practically become the norm. How many bands would have got anywhere if all they sang about was what they knew? (The problem, in fact, becomes when bands do make it and then start singing about what they know – ie being a rock star). The Hot Sprockets have taken the concept to its (il)logical conclusion, basing their sound of the Mississippi Delta rather than their actual home of South Dublin. That may sound like a recipe for disaster but, like the Rockingbirds before them and to a similar extent The Minutes, they get away with it.
And, boy, do they get away with it. Honey Skippin’ is a really, really, really good debut. It throws everything at the wall – harmonicas, harmonies, mandolins, banjos, facial hair – and all of it sticks. The sheer exuberance of the record is infectious, as is the fact that it taps into such familiar source material. Yet it’s not simply a case of bashing it out and hoping for the best, there’s also a real sense of craft here. No doubt helped by producer Boz Boorer, there’s a great attention to detail that lifts the album to another level – the varied instrumentation, the harmonies and the tight arrangements. Most of all though, it’s a huge amount of fun to listen to and a clearly a record made from a good place – and that’s the only place that really matters.