Solid, but not quite there yet
Back in 2009, there was a Sydney based outfit doing the rounds by the name of Bottle Rocket. They weren’t exactly a well known band, but their brand of indie/hard rock was enjoyable enough and worth a spin or two. But after a couple of years of playing around the traps, the four piece outfit eventually lost a couple of members, and the band pretty much dropped out of the scene as a consequence. Undeterred, vocalist Mandy Newton, bassist Jim Allison and drummer Greg Refeld decided to rope in a couple of new guitarists and start anew. And with the addition of Raff Jacurto (ex-Thumlock) and Scott Campbell inducted into the fold, the band rechristened themselves The Dirty Earth in mid 2011 and set about relaunching themselves onto the live scene. In amongst some live shows, the band managed to lock themselves away at Damien Gerard Sound Studio under the watchful eye of renowned engineer Russell Pilling – which has brought about their five track self titled debut E.P.
Given that three members of Bottle Rocket are members of The Dirty Earth, we’re not talking about a huge departure in sound between the two bands. But that’s not to say they’re identical either. Instead, The Dirty Earth has toughened up their sound a little more with the new guitarists in the group, and it’s no more evident than in the opening track, Don’t Say Never. Introduced via some great lead work, the song settles down for a classic hard rock sound with Newton putting in a powerful performance out front. Don’t Say Never is good song that sees the band rocking in fine form, even if the song does sound a little too polished to give off the raw and energetic vibe the band deliver on a live stage.
Tide Lands follows suit with a driving groove that is just as rocking, but is letdown with a chorus that comes across as a little underwhelming. Unfortunately, the blues-like rocker I Hate Flying is plagued with similar problems as the former track with a chorus that fails to spark, despite the exceptional guitar work delivered throughout the track.
Thankfully, the shorter and grunge-like Tell Me I’m Here and the up-tempo closer Pretty Face finish up the E.P. on a stronger note.
Although a little inconsistent on the song writing front, The Dirty Earth’s debut effort is a solid start for the band, and a definite step up from anything Bottle Rocket offered listeners some years ago. With a little more refinement, a focus on song writing and a little more grit on the production side of things, The Dirty Earth might make a few more waves with their upcoming full-length effort later in the year.