Suburban Dirts Album Review

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Artist: Suburban Dirts
Album: Suburban Dirts
Record Label: Old Jank Records
Release Date: March 2012
Our Rating:
01. Tacho Breakdown Blues (Part Two)
02. Lost in Transcription
03. Stuck On You
04. Ada
05. I Ain’t Cut Out For Working 9 To 5
06. Someday, Baby
07. Stoned
08. The World It Turned
09. Need Your Love So Bad
10. Tacho Breakdown Blues (Part One)

It’s rather amazing that a band from Hertfordshire, UK can create music that I used to think was purely of American taste. Please note that I said “used to think” because Suburban Dirts have undoubtedly changed that stigma for me. Suburban Dirts take their self described genre of “trailer trash country blues” to new and unique levels. Their brand of country blues works in all kinds of songs whether it’s a high paced thriller, an acoustic number, or a track meant to be played out on a porch. Whatever type of song, Suburban Dirts’ sound will work.

Their sound is reminiscent of Bob Dylan. The similarities can be heard throughout their self titled debut. Which made no surprise when Dylan was listed among SD’s influences along with the likes of Ryan Adams, Jack White, Bruce Springsteen, Bright Eyes and more.

The self titled album opens up with a seven minute number, a rather ballsy move. But hats off to them because those seven minutes were not disappointing in the least. Sure, it was a slow start but “Tacho Breakdown Blues (Part Two)” is so well composed that its slow pace does not hinder the album. What the track really does is set up the listener for the crazy ride Suburban Dirts will soon take them on. Lead vocalist John Wheatley’s voice is wonderful straight off the bat and has that distinct twang that comes with blues/country/rock type singers. The instrumentation really shines here and all the previous influences truly come out in this track. Six minutes in, the guitar solo is absolutely stunning with accompaniment from the rest of the band.

“Well what did you expect to find? When life is so unkind.” The pace picks up with second track, “Lost in Transcription.” A high energy number with smart, amusing lyrics. Is this band really from England? A background check might be needed because they are doing trailer trash country blues proud. As the album goes on, something else Suburban Dirts does well is the placement of their songs. Throughout the album, there’s a nice balance between slower paced songs and the high energy tracks. They rile up the listener, picking up our heart rate with their powerful numbers only to bring us back to Earth with sweet songs like “Stuck On You” and “Someday, Baby.” I really thought “Someday, Baby” was going to be a Dylan cover but I’m sure as hell glad that it wasn’t. The song is absolutely beautiful. Vivid imagery and a beautiful composition make it a great listen. The violin during this track really makes it.

Apart from the inevitable foot tapping and head bobbing that “I Ain’t Cut Out For Working 9 To 5” will put on its listeners, another positive note from this song is the commentary at the beginning of the track. It’s proof that this band really is British. To put it simply, this track is well done. As was tracks “The World It Turned” and “Need Your Love So Bad.” We all know those albums where one half is dramatically better than the other half. I’m glad to say that Suburban Dirts’ debut album does npt fall into that category. Their album is a solid run through of killer songs, both fast and slow paced.

Suburban Dirts is Chris Varley (bass), Dave Austin (drums), Dave Moyes (guitar) and John Wheatley (vocals, guitar) with Joolz Heath (violin) & Joe Glossop (piano, keys).

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Nancy Hoang created Hopeless Thunder in 2007. She conducts the interviews, writes the articles, photographs the concerts, and handles the site's coding & design. (Basically, she's a control freak.) Her work can also be seen on music publication, CMJ. Contact Nancy for image licensing, assignments, or just to say hi.

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