Valet (Honey Owens) – Blood Is Clean

Valet (Honey Owens)
Blood Is Clean

Oddly enough, when I went to add Valet into our review system at DOA I uncovered a bizarre little problem. There is or at least was at one time another group with the name Valet that has nothing to do with Honey Owens (aka this particular Valet). While that group played indie-pop in the vein of Death Cab For Cutie according to our own Garrett Martin, this Valet is made up of the one and only Honey Owens of Jackie-O Motherfucker fame. Suffice it to say that Blood is Clean is far from pop music by any stretch of the imagination. Like her work in Jackie-O, Owens’ solo material here embodies the essence of psychedelic folk complete with wandering blues inflected guitar solos and her hazy vocals.

On a purely stylistic level, Blood is Clean isn’t too far from the work of Tara Burke under her Fursaxa moniker. The similarities in choice of instruments and vocal tactic are certainly present. The difference being that for my money, Honey Owens has a far more alluring voice than Burke. Although used sparingly on this record, its impact remains undiminished when it makes an appearance. Owens also manages to capture a ramshackle vibe through a mix of clean tones played against the rusty sounding scrapes and clank of what little percussion is employed. The overall feeling is one of music that is in constant drift.

Fans of Jackie-O Motherfucker will definitely want to check this out. As an introduction to Owens’ work, Blood is Clean might not be the best starting place but one can hardly fault a few good moments on an otherwise great record. Personally I’d recommend picking up Jackie-O’s Flags of the Sacred Harp before delving into this stuff. As a fan of that haunting voice, it’s a welcome change from the relatively more song oriented group work and a valuable addition to her repertoire.