Fresh off taking “Best Rock” honors at the San Diego Music Awards for the second straight year, So-Cal’s biggest buzz-band Dirty Sweet is poised for greatness. Their 2007 debut record, Of Monarchs and Beggars, had U.K.’s NME Magazine warning, “(they) are getting ready to go mega with their skuzzy, ass-shaking rawk’n’roll.” Music lovers worldwide agreed. For two years, fans in the U.K. and the rest of Europe have welcomed the Dirty Sweet storm with packed houses. Long before that, they were kicking down doors in major cities all over the U.S. Their music channeled a modus operandi that was powerful, yet unpretentious: Drenched in tempestuous classic rock riffs, enslaving hooks and stunning vocals, Monarchs defiled mediocrity while building a formidable fan base. Accordingly, their rabid devotees were primed for a rock and roll revolution.
Fear not: After five years of pounding rock and roll pavement, Dirty Sweet has answered the call with a sonic insurgence of their own, American Spiritual. Their forthcoming album, Spiritual is a revolutionary barnburner that melts the mold of genrefied rock music. The impassioned opener, “Rest Sniper Rest,” laments the tragedies of unnecessary wars with marching riffs, penetrating drums, haunting keys and enduring, if not addictive, harmonies. “Please Beware” taps the arena rock vein with a bridge that is carved with high voltage axe work and a chorus that is nothing short of anthemic. There are other standouts on the record, including “Get Up, Get Out,” a call to arms for unity that drives the hips, heart and spirit with a soulful bass line punctuated with impassioned chants that would rally the dead. “Crimson Cavalry” touts their credo of loyalty, wrapping itself in a heavy dose of late 60s metal rife with punishing crescendos, incendiary guitar licks and a rhythm section that tramples all dissidents. The entire album echoes a vivid history of song, culture and meaningful ambition. But this assorted menagerie is no anomaly for Dirty Sweet: this is the spirit of their music and it’s the story of American Spiritual.
To accentuate this impelling musical parable, Dirty Sweet enlisted veteran producer Doug Boehm to polish the record. With an assortment of artists to his credit, including The Vines, Elliott Smith, Danzig, Screaming Trees and Guided By Voices, Boehm brings an expert ear, sharpened by musical diversity, to American Spiritual. Lead Guitarist Nate Beale explains, “We set out to expand and improve upon the sound we honed on Monarchs. We let the songs write themselves without placing any restrictions on what band we should be. Obviously we’re a rock band – but within that framework there are a lot of boundaries that can be stretched, and I think we’ve accomplished that with this album.” Truly an innovative and emergent effort, this 11-tracker will challenge you to change the way you think about and engage with music. For Beale and the rest of Dirty Sweet, this is just how they want it, “This record reflects changes in our music, but also in our lives and in the world around us. Change can be painful at times, but it can also be a good thing.” This is true. With this album, Dirty Sweet, seemingly impervious to paradigms, has crafted “change” into an extraordinarily transcendent American Spiritual.