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Friday, March 19, 2010

Mini-Review: Dirt Mall: "Pacifuego"

My first run-in with Dirt Mall was back in July of 2008 when I reviewed their album, Got the Goat by the Horns.  Back then, I marveled at the talent of guitarist Jason Murray and called the album, short but a "truly entertaining listen."  Pacifuego is the band's second release - picking up right where their first album left off.  Dirt Mall isn't exactly experimenting with new sounds here.  Fans of the band's first album will find a lot to like here, if not more.  The guitar is still particularly impressive, whether its driving the song forward with dirty riffs or tearing through a rad solo (like in "Calling All Clowns"); Johnny Anguish continues to utilize his Mick Jones-style punk vocals to great effect; and the songs, while not necessarily groundbreaking remain a fun flashback to Clash-era punk rock.

That said, the problems on Got the Goat by the Horns are still prevalent here.  So if one found themselves distracted by the sub-par production or Anguish's grating voice, Pacifuego isn't going to really change their perception of the band.  But Pacifuego if anything, portrays a band tightening their skills and coming into their own as a functioning musical entity.  Dirt Mall doesn't do anything particularly groundbreaking - well - ever, but I can't help but think that's point.  They're playing music that they love and paying tribute to all the bands that influenced them along the way.  So if you're a fan of The Clash, Iggy Pop and the Stooges, or more recent garage rock bands like The Vines or The Hives, checking out Pacifuego isn't really a difficult decision.  One could certainly do worse.

Key Tracks:
1. "Calling All Clowns"
2. "Standing in the Road"
3. "Rats"

6 out of 10 Stars