Album review

Dirty Americans : Strange Generation
Roadrunner Records

Dirty Americans : Strange GenerationFormed from the ashes of the near-famous groove rockers The Workhorse Movement, this four-piece outfit are starting something of a retro-rock revival. This, their debut album, is a carefully constructed and faithfully rendered shrine to gods of rock 'n' roll past.
    Take the psychedelia of Monster Magnet and the stoner-rock overtones of Queens Of The Stone Age, mix in some crunchy Hendrix-licks and add the occasional bluesy signature of Led Zeppelin and you've got Dirty Americans. With loud, anthemic choruses, pop-savvy hooks and a heavy dose of young blooded enthusiasm, these guys play as though they've been handed the Olympic flame of rock and are running as if it's about to go out.

Hailing from the rock-rich plains of Detroit, lead vocalist Myron insists that the band are doing something very different from fellow Detroit acts like The White Stripes and Kid Rock, and whilst the garage revival movement may be driving new rock forward, the Dirty Americans' mission is to bring the past into the present. Taking an outrageously broad sweep of the best of three decades of rock, the Dirty Americans have greatly increased the scope of their audience, appealing to several generations of rock lovers without isolating the fans of any one genre.

Strange Generation is a fine collection of nostalgically riff-heavy, melodic and catchy tunes which are both tightly constructed and well produced. From the grungy stomp of Car Crash through the heavy guitars and harmonic chorus of Burn You Down to the folksy acoustics of Deep End, it becomes apparent that there are no really weak tracks here, and like their predecessors Led Zeppelin and Grand Funk Railroad, the Dirty Americans seem to believe firmly in the principles of album-rock, resisting the temptation to create one-off 'single-friendly' tracks for airplay, and putting their heart and soul into the entire album.
    This is a fairly straight-up, what you see is what you get album, and most of the lyrics stick closely to the well trodden paths of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, the staple diet of a band on the road. The only thing that's missing is a broody rebellious dark side. These guys simply love rock, that's it. But then that's not a bad thing, especially in today's musical climate, where there's always a place for those old-time classic components of rock; three chords, a driving back-beat and charismatic vocals - an old fashioned antidote for a stressed-out, uptight, angst-ridden generation hooked on the hostile metallic grind of hardcore rock 'n' rap.
    Imagine the laid-back summer groove of The Beach Boys fused with the gritty guitar-led edginess of the Foo Fighters and you've got a sound that's instantly appealing and easily accessible.

If there is a down side to Strange Generation, it's that the pervading feel-good, middle-of-the-road vibe means that overall the album can lack the kind of bite which has the power to sink it's teeth into the listener and leave a permanent mark. But that's a minor gripe over what is otherwise a major success story which will leave old school rock fans everywhere wanting more.

:: Tom West

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