Dirty Power

Dirty Power

Rare is the modern hard-rock album that hearkens back to classic sounds without blatantly ripping off classic tunes. Even the best outfits flying the stoner-rock flag seem content to bash out by-the-numbers riffs nicked from Sabbath or the Nuge. Local quartet Dirty Power makes no bones about its influences on its self-titled Dead Teenager Records debut, but the crafty, barbed-wire hooks and inventive guitar interplay showcase a knack for songwriting that's glaringly absent from most retro-rock regurgitation.

The bruising opener, "LSD," wastes little time in establishing the band's ass-kicking agenda. Patrick Goodwin (aka Patrock of Pansy Division fame) and Steve Perrone lock up on chugging guitar chords as Goodwin flexes his vocal muscles. Alternating between a tuneful growl and an impressive metallic wail, the singer delivers memorable melodies with a ballsy ferocity that most wannabe hard-rock vocalists would kill for. Whether sprinting through the high-octane, almost punk-metal workout of "Drag You Down" or riding the slow, AC/DC-style crunch of "Hey Superman," Goodwin consistently comes up with infectious choruses that stick stubbornly in your head.

Seattle studio maven Jack Endino (Nirvana, Soundgarden, countless others) lends a hand to the recording, engineering a warm analog thickness that enhances the chunky guitars and the burly rhythms pounded out by bassist Nick Ulman and drummer Jeff Potts. Still, the excellent production wouldn't mean much if the album didn't feature solid tunes. The twin-guitar attack of Perrone and Goodwin nods to AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, and Kiss, mixing tandem riffs and sweetly harmonized leads to help construct catchy, headbanging originals like "Penny Eyes" and "Gone." Forget about the garage rock re-re-revival; Dirty Power could single-handedly resurrect the arena-metal anthem in all its mulletheaded glory.

 
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