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Review: Dirty Thrills – ‘Heavy Living’

Dirty ThrillsDirty Thrills are a bluesy hard rock quartet from London, UK. Fronted by the son of ex-Moody Blues singer Nicky James, they are bringing back old school rock ‘n’ roll, whilst applying their own spin on proceedings. Dirty Thrills formed after a successful drunken jam night in a quiet village pub in Wiltshire, and what started out as an inconspicuous session, quickly birthed an ambitious group with the drive and determination to take the rock scene back to its glory days.  The band is made up of Louis James on lead vocals and harmonica, Jack Fawdry on guitar and backing vocals, Steve Corrigan on drums and Aaron Plows on bass.

Dirty Thrills have cut their teeth playing London’s 100 Club, the main stage at O2 Academy Liverpool, and Shepherd’s Bush Empire, as well as having been given airtime on BBC Radio 2. They also played Camden Rocks Festival, Wildfire Festival and Ramblin’ Man Fair as well.  Later this year they are also supporting Black Star Riders on their “Coming Under Heavy Fire” tour. “Heavy Living” has been long-awaited, following the previously released “Devils Wine” and “Sweetheart Of The Slums” EPs. Produced, mixed and mastered by James Loughrey at Monnow Valley Studio, the album kicks off very nicely with “I’ll Be With You”, which has an early Rival Sons vibe. This is an immediately catchy track, rising to the chorus with heavy, dirty guitar tones and thunderous drumming. There are changes in tempo as the band show what they are good at; captivating a crowd and getting them to sing along. This track certainly gives loads of opportunity for this. “Go Slow” has a slower start, with fuzzy, sliding guitars that provide maximum distortion, combined with a fat bass line and throbbing drums. The vocals really help to provide atmosphere to this track, as they convey a myriad of emotions, combining well with the intensity of the massive sound created by the rest of the band. “Law Man” has funk and groove at its heart. I loved the conversation between guitars and drums at the start. This track really reminded me of Crobot, as it has a psychedelic feel, with hazy, spacey guitars interweaving with the drums and vocals. This is a real toe tapping track, whilst “Hanging Around” is filled with boosted, fuzzy riffs, deep resonant bass lines, and is full of swagger.   

The gentle track “Lonely Soul” is an acoustic, soulful delight, showing the range that Dirty Thrills have and how they have spent time working on what works well for them.  This has a blues base with melancholy vocals, showing an amazing depth of emotion. It really pulls at the heart strings.   This track also showcases the talents of the band, from the drumming to the fluid riffs and intriguing bass line. “No Resolve” starts with powerful guitars and drums, building up to catchy hooks, which lead you further into the track. This is a very sensual track, making you want to move your body as it rises and falls away. Shimmering riffs accentuate the longing that this track evokes, underpinned with deeply dark bass line and vocals that are dripping with intensity. “Interlude” features eastern-influenced chanting, with shimmering cymbals and low, discordant guitars.  

“The Brave” has a sleezy, vocal tone that fits perfectly with the growling bass line and rattling drums. The climatic riffs deepen and growl, making this into an intense track with loads of texture and variety in tempo and feel. “Rabbit Hole” has an off-kilter vibe, with the spaces interweaving with lifting riffs and vocals.  It has a hallucinogenic feel, with guitars and vocals fading in and out, bursting with energy. The mesmeric guitars swoop and soar, mixing with the backing vocals to create a track with intrigue and surprise. Playing to the bands strengths, “Drunk Words” is steeped in the blues, and helps to show the vocal range of Louis. The rich depth of the vocals are heaped with emotion, whilst the guitars are resonant. This is a catchy track which builds into the chorus with boxy, heavy riffs adding flavour. “Get Loose” is the closing track, and is another catchy, head-nodding, toe-tapping track.  It has a real feel-good vibe, and again, I can imagine this would do down really well live, getting the audience involved. This is a track that moves along quickly, but manages to combine all of the elements of Dirty Thrills. 

This album will appeal to fans of anyone who loves deep, rich bass lines, soaring riffs, and tunes that make you think and go back for another listen. It reminded me of Crobot, Rival Sons, and Inglorious, which is no bad thing, as all three bands have had major successes. I think this will widen the appeal of Dirty Thrills as it is a well crafted album that highlights the talents of the band, both collectively and also individually, as each member gets a moment to shine.

“Heavy Living” is available 15th September through Frontiers Music SRL. Details on how to pre-order can be found on the official Dirty Thrills website or facebook page.

Review – Samantha Lamb

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