Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dirty Power - S/T

Back in high school, I almost bought a 1969 Mustang fastback. Talk about a gorgeous car. Two-tone dark red and black. 351 engine (I believe) four barrel, four on the floor. Damn. Then later, I almost bought a jet black and gold limited edition 1981 Firebird Trans Am. Another real looker. The key word in those previous sentences is "almost." Never had the money. So instead of some fricking awesome chick-magnet, dude-open-mouth-drooling, muscle car to cart me through the formative years of high school, I drove my mother's hand-me-down 1974 Fiat 128. Now, this wasn't even one of the cool convertible, 2-seater Fiats, this was a square box positioned on top of a rollerskate, 4-door attempt at a sedan, 2hp engine that could only reach 50 mph on a brakeless descent from the peak of Mt. Everest. And even then, it'd still need 40 Sherpas pushing to get it up to speed.

So to make up for having the world's dorkiest car, I blew out the stereo and blasted the world's coolest music. When my friends were just beginning to listen to Journey, I blew their minds with UFO. When they finally opened their ears to AC/DC, I stunned em into submission with Saxon's Wheels of Steel and The Angels. I frightened their bowels into permanent paralysis with the first Iron Maiden platter. It became known pretty quickly, that if you wanted to know where the cool music was, you searched for that damn ugly, bright red, puttering Fiat. You'd usually find it off to the side of the road, with me under the hood.

I only wish Dirty Power had been around back then.

Blasting a retro-seventies, straight-up hard rock vibe through the forethinking minds of the current day, Dirty Power is one hellish, full-on assault of scrotum kicking rock and roll. Listening to these guys, you can almost see the extra-sized band posters taped up on their bedroom walls like a shrine. And they're all there. UFO, KISS, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Lizzy, Motorhead, and a nod to the prime madness of Nugent. Trying to describe these guys to the Pope one day as we lazed in the Ripple office, the best I could come up with was; these are a bunch of guys who believed that behind the make-up and explosions, KISS could actually write some kick-ass songs. So they went back to that period in time before the disco balls and glittering costumes, distilled the best and brought it kicking and screaming into the modern day. And God Bless em for it. See, I'm one of those guys too, you can play "She," for me any day and I'll argue it's merits with the best of em.

I can only imagine what the reaction would've been if I'd pulled up into the main circle in front of the school, "LSD" driving the Jensen Triaxle speakers into a spasm of charging, Motorhead-fast rock and roll. "LSD" ain't referring to anything as pretty or flowery as the drug. This ain't no fey psychedelic love-fest. "LSD" is "Lost Souls Day" and the song is just as mean and nasty as that title suggests. And let me tell you, this dog has got a bite. Starting off with a sludgy riff and a snarling vocal, it doesn't take long for mayhem to ensue. Bass and drums kicking in at the 9 second mark, the vocals take on a whole new level of sneer. Strong songwriting takes that intro through the bridge to the spit and venom chorus without ever losing any of the speed urgency. A mutated guitar solo drops right back down into that charging riff that would've scared the Hair Net right out of the cheerleaders hairdos. This song would've either made me a hero or a pariah around campus, and I wouldn't of cared either way. My middle finger would've been held way to high in the air to wait for their response.

"Asthma Pimp," harkens to shades of UFO with it's stop-starting riff and beautiful guitar interplay breaking up the end of the choral verses, and it's Schenker-styled solo. This song truly defines the Dirty Power sound. Dirty: mean, malicious, and mighty unclean, yet wielding the power to levitate my poor Fiat right off the ground. A non-stop blast of classic hard rock.

"Hey Superman," one of the album standout's follows a big chiming guitar, big-chord, intro right into a top-drop out, leaving only the bass and drums verse. What follows is a vocal performance for the ages, soft and smooth building to a perfectly impassioned pitch. Without a doubt, the boys listened to their KISS records well, cause this could shift effortlessly into any best of Paul Stanely and the boys compilation. Influenced, but not derivative, the song packs a double closed-fist worth of power even though it technically never really moves beyond it's mid-tempo speed. Show's you that the power of song is in passion, intent, and honesty, not necessarily velocity.

But, just to show that velocity can bring it's own head-smashing against the dashboard intensity, "Penny Eyes," rages next, going faster than my damn FIAT ever could. Raging at a Motorhead pace, flourishes of NWOBHM seem to echo in the guitar play during the breaks. A truly nasty blitz of charging hard rock. Playing this one on school grounds probably would've gotten me expelled, but I'd be so pumped up and ready to attack from the music that when the prinicpal started to yell at me I'd probably just eat him. One less principle in the world, one more happy rocker.

And the album goes on from there without ever pausing to catch its breath all the way to its raging closer "Gone." "Drag You Down," is just one fucking scandalous spit in the face, played at hyper-velocity and packing a mightier punch than Tyson in his heyday. All without ever losing enough melody to allow it to slide down the gullet. "Tastes Like Burning," another highlight brings on a fucking nice dual guitar intro before dropping it all down into a grinding groove. "Dirty Power," sums it up best. Over a driving bass and beating drum, the boys sing their mantra. "I just want to get drunk/and spend the night on the floor." Like KISS's "Rock and Roll All Night," every band needs to have a song that sums up their message, and there it is. Drunk and sleeping on the floor. Probably in a pile of their own vomit, but ready to go at it all over again in the morning. Unpleasant, dirty, and fucking rock and roll.

Nothing on this disc is new, but really, should it be? It's rock and roll. It's violent and angry and charging and intended to scare little children. This is outcast rock and roll, buried somewhere off the mainstream. We're not figuring out how to slice bread for the first time here, we're pumping adrenaline into male veins, kids who drive around in fucked-up, ratty little FIATs but frighten the pretty ones at school more than some perfect-haired boy jock listening to his STYX CD's ever could. Dirty Power are a band that could've even made that FIAT of mine cool.


Buy here: Buy the CD

1 comment:

Woody said...

Oh - 1969 Mustang. An absolute fantasy car of mine. Gonna have to check this band out if they're worthy of being mentioned with that car.

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