Review Archive

‘A Tiny Little Island In The Big Bad Sea’ from Suburban Dirts - worth exploring

(November 01, 2013)

The number of British bands delivering creditable slices of voracious Americana folk is slowly increasing and Suburban Dirts are right up there (that's the opinion of an old Colorado Suburban Dirtsexile anyway). They describe themselves as a ‘six-piece folk / alt. country band’. Fair enough, but when it comes to their new album ‘A Tiny Little Island In The Big Bad Sea’ it’s probably lacking some references. For instance - rock-tinged energy, razor sharp guitar licks, pouncing keyboards, feverish harmonica, powerful lyrics and gutsy American-tinged vocals.

The opening ‘Fire On The Campsite’ and the following ‘Hose Ban Blues’ shows you the frenetic side of the band – cutting, caustic-messaged lyrics, with a raw low-down dirty bluesy feel, wailing harmonica and that biting guitar slicing its way through.  This is tough stuff - prompting images of darkened smoky rooms, Jack Daniels at the ready, boots on the table - and all the more engaging for that. There’s more to follow as Suburban Dirts slow down and expose their more mellow side with the mournful, visceral sound of ‘Ain’t Nobody Ever Told You’ and the no-holds-barred reflection of ‘You Kill Me’. Then just when you think you have a handle on their scope, they drop the hook laden melodies of ‘Any Other Morning’ and ‘Occasionally Drunk’ on you, while the closing poignancy and longing of ‘All Of This’ has to be a sure-fire live crowd-pleaser.

Due for release on 18 November 2013, ‘A Tiny Little Island In The Big Bad Sea’ has no lack of breadth and depth – and it’s well worth taking the time to discover its potential.

Suburban Dirts are John Wheatley (lead vocal, acoustic guitar, harmonica) Ryan Davies (lead guitar) David Austin (drums, vocals) Chris Varley (bass) Jay Seymour (keyboards) and Joolz Heath (violin).

Reviewer: Tom Franks

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