Thursday, March 18, 2010

Review: Dirt Mall "Pacifuego"

"Pacifuego" is the sophomore set from Boston band Dirt Mall, following up 2007's "Got The Goat By The Horns". These eleven new tracks continue the band's love for writing and playing classic garage rock, but shows an evolution towards writing catchier stuff. There is a strong 70s influence in the guitar tone and chord structures, but the key standout is the riff-driven nature of these tunes. Everything else seems secondary to the riff, with possible exception of the bombastic drumming, which delivers big thick beats.

What I like most about Dirt Mall is the honesty that comes through in the performance. What you see is what you get, and certain points on this record take me back to the early Rolling Stones and Faces sound. There is plenty of attitude and rasp in the vocals of Johnny Anguish, a perfect accompaniment to this style of rock.

"Pacifuego" steams ahead full tilt from start to finish, not letting up for even a single ballad during the half hour it plays. My favorite track is "Pearl", with other highlights being "Building A Case" and "Calling All Clowns". Other notables include the Tommy Keene sound of "You've Got The Whole Thing Wrong" and the Superdrag inspired "Lost In Plain Sight".

Dirt Mall is for fans who dig riff-heavy guitar rock from Aerosmith to Drivin' N Cryin' to Queens Of The Stone Age. I applaud the move towards more melodic songwriting, and "Pacifuego" proves that this can be done without sacrificing any of your true rock and roll grit. I think they need to go even further in this direction because even a great riff can get old quick if its the only thing holding up the song. Dirt Mall is following a trajectory similar to The Replacements, and it will be interesting to see if they can produce a "Pleased To Meet Me" one day.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 6, 10

Dirt Mall on MySpace. Official site.

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