Look at the list of bands who have influenced Dirty Thrills or even hear them in the music and there’s one theme which ties them together: swagger. Whether it’s Led Zeppelin and Bad Company or Rival Sons and Queens of the Stone Age, they all bring it in spades.
More assured than their debut, Heavy Living shows a band ready to take on the world. And with these songs in their arsenal, they’re well-equipped for the job. Encompassing different takes on blues set against the backdrop of hard rock, there’s many different sides to their songs such as psychedelic vibes, a dirty side and soulful moments. However, there’s plenty of bombast to back it all up.
With their debut, Dirty Thrills had a very gritty take on blues and while that’s still present, they’re moving out of their comfort zone and experimenting with other facets. While it may sound like they’re trying to do too much, it all comes together seamlessly. Making a fresh appearance, “No Resolve” has been re-recorded and what was a highlight of the debut has become a track worthy of little note. And it’s not until you hear it that the album’s only real problem hits – the production.
James Loughrey has done a stellar job with it and alongside that, mixed and mastered it to fully realise his input. However, one of the appealing factors of Dirty Thrills was the scruffy, grimy feel of the music. Now, all those rough edges have been sanded off and then buffed to make it all squeaky clean. It’s not to the point of over-produced where it becomes soulless but now that the band have good production values behind them, it hinders them.
That being said, the band deliver brilliant performances, varied and wearing their heritage influences on their sleeves with the two most prevalent being Bad Company at their heaviest and Zeppelin at their most experimental. There’s been a lot of care put into the songs and the band are exploring what you can do with the blues, even venturing into old school rhythm and blues. It’s funky, groovy, heavy and ultimately, something you can move to. There’s a deftness and passion which is almost tangible from the four piece; one which only comes from playing blues and simultaneously, a unique one you need in order to play this kind of music.
Featuring filthy riffs from James Fawdry and Louis James’ emotive voice, they combine with Aaron Plows’ massive bass riffs and Steve Corrigan’s Bonham-esque tub-thumping, they create a sound you’d expect from double their number. From the fuzzy “I’ll Be With You” to the jive-based “Get Loose” and everything in between, each member brings a wide variation to their respective weapon of choice. James’ vocals on “Lonely Soul” in particular are reminiscent of The Temperance Movement’s Phil Campbell in its most soothing and tender moments.
Heavy Living is an ode to early 70s British rock; no band which has been influenced by that era has ever sounded so authentic since those giants themselves dominated the world. If you’re either looking to explore blues or have been put off by it in the past, it’s heavy enough to appeal to the hard rock crowd and you may find a style of blues in the album you want to explore. If you’re looking for a jumping in point for the band itself, this is ideal. If you’re an existing fan, you’ll love it or hate it. The production feels like it’s at odds with the vibe of the band but with the quality of performance on display, it can be easily overlooked.
Heavy Living is released on 15th September