“May the fuzz be with you” – this decade’s musical adjustment to the famous Star Wars well-wishing shibboleth. From Rival Sons to Broken Witt Rebels , fuzz riffs are decadently en vogue, and the trend continues with debut LP offering from London-made Dirty Thrills’ Heavy Living. Although recently bitten by the mighty Classic Rock Magazine wolf for being too alike to Rival Sons, the present author deems such an observation as worthy of celebration. How many more times (Led Zeppelin reference intended…) will reviews be riddled with Zeppelin references before the latest, greatest iterations of heavy-hitting rock music are given a nod. To finally see a middleman between classic rock nebulae and today’s rising musical stars is a sign of progression – a new hope, if we are to continue the Star Wars references. Consequently, the current review is a commemoration: a literary marking of new age rock that can stand on its own two feet after graduating in its study of Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame archives.
Opener “I’ll Be With You” is an unmistakable nod to Rival Sons circa Before The Fire, laced with gnarly nose-scrunching moments of grit and vocals that scurry between operatic and ruggedly fierce. Whilst Louis James’ vocal control borders on an untrained, over-excitable puppy in comparison to the likes of Inglorious’ Nathan James, the substance of an incredible rock vocalist is evident. “Go Slow” inhabits a lip-biting, harmonica-infused bridge section and pleasantly reeks of 1970s vocal howls which question whether the recipient is “ready to go slow?” (The answer being “hell no, not after this track”, FYI.)
Whilst possessing a seemingly adolescent band name, Dirty Thrills inject certain subtleties into Heavy Living that imply they are more than hormone-driven bulls in a china shop, exuding salt-of-the-earth rock’n’roll in the likes of “Hanging Around” and the debaucherous “Get Loose”. The track title “Drunk Words” elicits a raised eyebrow, as it sounds all too alike to what might be seen listed on the mainstream charts. However, the track oozes vintage devil-may-care attitude, like an upcycled Etta James song.
“Rabbit Hole” has seemingly been mined from the rubble of London’s deepest underground clubs and marks a sound-wave trail reminiscent of the smoke from a solitary cigarette. Meanwhile, the tangible pool of texture emitted by the striding rumble of “No Resolve” is soon stripped back to make way for the ethereal Middle Eastern “Interlude”, where haunting vocals glide between the cracks of thunderous instrumentation.
Although Heavy Living hardly stretches over the spectrum of musical versatility boasted by Rival Sons, at the time of writing Heavy Living is temporarily out of stock on Amazon just a day after its release. If that ain’t current age authentication of a winning formula amidst a society hell-bent on streaming everything for free, you can slap my ass and call me Sally (assuming, of course, that this isn’t a cock-up on the part of their distributor!)