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Dirty Americans: Strange Generation

It isn't progressive, and it isn't metal. It's plain, old fashioned rock. Very good rock, but just rock - with no pretensions, no frills, and no acknowledgement of any musical developments after 1980.

Resurrected from the now defunct Detroit groove-metal act The Workhouse Movement - but with a new drummer and a different vocal style - Dirty Americans describe the odd selection of the band's name as a reaction to "dirty" lives dominated by war, sex, and drugs. Strange Generation is their debut album, following their EP released in 2003 which contained 3 of the songs on this CD.

The style is distinctly retro-rock with a ballsy guitar/drum/bass/vocalist lineup. The 13 songs last 49 minutes and run 3 to 4 radio-friendly minutes. Think of Grand Funk inspired rock songs with a an upbeat head-nodding lilt in the standard verse / chorus / solo / verse format. The guitar work dominates the instrumentation and the straightforward solos provide necessary breaks to the rollicking toe-tappin' pace set by a tight rhythm section.

The lyrics tend to be rather straightforward, and in some cases - like on the title track - a few simple lines are repeated over and over, filling the gaps between the rhythm and the solos rather than conveying much poetic value. "Burn You Down" is a straightforward piece with prose that appears to be anti-drug, while "Car Crash" has a line that appears to condone drugs. "We Were Young" is a gentler track with an almost ballad like appeal, with strummed acoustic guitar and the occasional insertion of lead guitar licks and muted solos and a pleasant repeated motif. Very pleasing. But "Dead Man" is by far the standout track on this record, with far more complexity and structure than the other songs, fewer vocals, interesting dual guitar interchange, backing vocals, nice solos and excellent drumming.

From its '60s-psychedelic cover art to its retro-styled stadium rocking to the ballsy mid-range singing, this is clearly a no-frills-attached 'what you see is what you get' proposition. You won't buy it for the musicianship, songwriting genius or progressive complexity. But you would definitely buy it for the vibe - this record is 49 minutes of old fashioned fun!

Track Listing:
01. No Rest
02. Car Crash
03. Strange Generation
04. Burn You Down
05. Time In Space
06. Give It Up
07. Deadman
08. Control
09. Deep End
10. Way To Go
11. Light-Headed
12. Chico
13. We Were Young

Added: March 14th 2005
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: Dirty Americans's Web Site
Hits: 3493
Language: english

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Dirty Americans: Strange Generation
Posted by Jack Toledano, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-03-14 12:55:28
My Score:

Let's start with the liner notes on this one. The Dirty Americans tout themselves as being the next band to be crowned the kings of Detroit "rock", and mention the musical phrase "Detroit Rock City". I keep seeing visions of the foursome that make up DA being chased around Detroit by makeup artists that have an affinity for white face paint, shoe salesmen that sell boots with 7 inch heels, tricksters with fire breathing equipment, spaced-out guitarists, etc. I had to get that out of my system, as I was subject to my own share of abuse in the late 70's for being a devout KISS fan. Now for the serious musical critique.

As for the musical content of the DA's studio effort, Strange Generation, I must say that I was immediately impressed. The first song of the CD, "No Rest", jumped right out at me with it's 70's classic rock style galloping beat. Other highlights on Strange Generation are the title track, with its nice vocal harmonies, both lead and backup. DA basically comes right at you with a classic 70's hard rock sound, and did not let up until the 6th song, "Give It Up", where it starts out slow, with a nice moody feel to it, another highlight on the CD. Even the cover art has a very 70's look to it, suggesting an early Jefferson Airplane/Hot Tuna look.

Towards the end of the CD, the songs start to sound similar, but remember, this is only after about 2 or 3 listens for me. I'm sure they will grow on me even more with every eventual listen.

As for similarities to other more familiar groups, the lead vocalist, who only goes by the name Myron (interesting), sounds a bit like Lenny Kravitz, and a bit like the lead singer of Badfinger. Guitarist Jeff Piper, bassist Pete Bever, and drummer Jeremiah Pilbeam have a nice, tight sound throughout. Quoting an enclosed note, a UK based magazine dubbed the band a modern take on Led Zep, Cream, and Black Sabbath. My personal take is that while they do not sound like any of the latter 3 mentioned, they do sound a bit like Grand Funk Railroad, Bachman Turner Overdrive, and maybe a hint of early Bad Company, all good bands in their own right.

All in all, I was impressed with Dirty Americans, as was my 9 year old son, who happened to be listening with me (and who has quite the musical talent at his young age). Maybe with more musical exposure of the right kind, the Dirty Americans can start a trend to bring back the great classic hard rock sounds of the 70's.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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