Sludgy-sounding, ’70’s-influenced barroom guitar bands are a dime a dozen these days, and for every one that interprets the style well (Black Crowes) there are 20 others (Silvertide, Tantric, Jet, etc.) serving up half-assed, blandly inoffensive crap disguised as rock ’n’ roll. This album places Dirty Americans solidly among the latter. The band’s racket isn’t thick or soulful enough to channel an act like Big Chief, and isn’t spacey enough to run with groups like Monster Magnet; as such, the songs tend to congeal like a poorly molded lump of musical Play-Doh. To be fair, the album does have a surprising run of decent songs; “Burn You Down” and “Time in Space” are sneakily catchy, while the band churns out a respectable pseudo-stoner rock stomp in “Dead Man.” Unfortunately, said songs are smothered in a stew of pedestrian songwriting. For a Detroit rock ’n’ roll combo with such an audacious name, where’s the dirt, the guts, the glory? Ultimately, this record shows the Dirty Americans in the worst light possible for a rock band: not terrible enough to make fun of, but not good enough to take seriously.
Gary Blackwell writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].