New York's Dirty River draws their influences from numerous genres, but most evidently, blues and grunge. The band hails from the Hudson Valley, and the first track, "No Place Else," on their debut self-titled album Dirty River, sounds as though it came from a slightly more urban locale---and definitely a different decade as well. But the nostalgic vibe comes across authentic and raw, rather than gimmicky, as some bands that attempt to recreate the past. Frontman Forrest Hackenbrock, who pens all of the band's lyrics, combines the deeply autobiographical with the absurdly fantastical, while also including social commentary that he feels is significant and which drips with sardonic self-loathing and over-the-top honesty. This is most notable on "Bard" and "F.A.D."
Behind Hackenbrock's classic deep, growling monotone are syncopated guitar riffs that are suitable to the repetitive, punk-influenced melodies. Most of the tracks are intentionally simple and stripped down, with solely guitar and drums; they are not only profoundly intimate---it's not hard to envision this band putting on a very moving, personal live performance---but almost comically visceral, with lyrics that occasionally border on the ridiculous but captivate the attention of the listener with their perversity and rawness nonetheless.
The highlight comes on the second-to-last track, "Dark Summer," in which Hackenbrock's low, brooding vocals croon such unashamedly poetic lines as "Stars don't live long/Daylight shines on."
Overall, Dirty River latest album contains 11 short, well written songs that are simple yet compelling. The unique story telling and vocal delivery alone is worth a listen. Check these guys out.
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