Article by KevW
In just over 30 seconds the tone is neatly set for The Dirty Dead's debut album 'Nightingale', as the brief opening salvo of 'Big Blood (Part One)' stomps ominously into view with a chant of "there's a killer in my head, and I think he wants me dead". This album is shady in tone, dark in nature and brings the wild west to scorching blues as if it were the offspring of Led Zeppelin and Johnny Cash brought up on more modern hard rock bands. Liquor, guns, fugitives and desert settings are the images conjured by the weighty and chugging 'Foxes Fighting Wolves', and it's a world that we never really leave across these 13 tracks.
Graves, goldmines and nooses around the neck are present in raw fashion as the lyrics further solidify this fantasy setting on the rough-hewn 'Diamond Godzilla', and this lyrical theme combines well with the music to paint a pretty complete overall picture. There are moments when 'Nightingale' veers a little too close to earnest metal or even the funk influence of Red Hot Chili Peppers on songs such as 'Ghosts of Guinevere', but the atmosphere pulls it through, as it does on the more dynamic and impressive 'Souls', while odd tracks like 'Driver' are maybe more suited to Kerrang readers, but really it's down to personal preference whether or not this harder sound is for you.
The Dirty Dead are at their best when they channel desert-rock and opt for a more cinematic approach as on 'Take Care', and the softer but no less potent 'The Ballad Of The Dead' mixes things up well. Spooky, hushed tones are found on 'The Fire' and add a nice dynamic before it bursts open and lets those gritty guitars and thundering, cascading drums loose. The band's vision is most fully realised on the excellent title-track which flows well and gives the most complete and engaging glimpse into the world in which these songs are set. It almost feels as though 'Strangers' belongs to a different record, as it has a different kind of eeriness to it and less rugged production which marks it out as the real highlight of 'Nightingale', also acting as a potential pointer of things to come if The Dirty Dead break free from the DIY stylings of some tracks.
The album ends with another high point in the shape of the richly layered, haunting and more widescreen vistas of 'Big Blood (Part Two)'. 'Nightingale' feels very much like an "album" as opposed to a mere collection of songs, and is a debut that suggests these guys are just getting started. Definitely a space worth watching.
The Dirty Dead's website
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