Dirt Russell's Dirt Don't Hurt is one of those EPs that doesn't need a lot of fluff from me. It's got an interesting mix of metal, hard rock and punk sounds presented in innovative ways. Let's dig in.
The first track is "I'm Sassy," and I do love this title. It's a fast and furious hard rock slash punk romp. Good for door kicking and cranking after work sort of thing. It's got a dated quality to it out of the gate, but this is a five-and-a-half-minute track with some very interesting interludes. In this way there is a bit of a classical composition quality to it. The vocal work was varied on the track which was interesting, but also contributed to that dated feeling in the back of my head. So far, I was intrigued.
“Black Snake” came next. This one moved more around the metal arena. It's another high flying fun time act. It fully embraces the void. Musically I was on board, oh boy do I like those drums in here. Now we're in head banging territory. However, I still struggled with the vocals and the treatment of them. The screaming voice work is pushed into the background, like it has to be somewhere else. There is some more intimate vocal work in the middle that was an interesting change up.
"Set Me On Fire" kinda hung in the air for me until there was an interesting interlude and while brief I was obsessed with it and listened to the whole song again. That interlude had so much fun and cheekiness in there. I would love to hear this group explore a sound like that more fully.
"Fool's Gold" put my back into a head banging zone, maybe a more modern metal sound this time. In fact, for some reason this song had one of the more modern aesthetics to it, and I was very much into it. Even the vocal work just felt fresher. It even at one point slipped into some cool surfy indie rock territory. This became my favorite song, the bass on here is unmatched - loved it.
Last on out of the gate is "Be Best." I doubt it would be hand picked by the first lady to represent her initiative, and that's her loss. There's a lot of impact here. The guitar is working overtime to deliver an epic sound that traverses all the scales. Again I think they found a great modern motif in this song. It's motivating and while clearly an homage to great rock of the past, this wild romp is clearly meant for today's angst ridden humans like myself.
Big points on this album for ambition. No half-assing here; everyone's full ass at all times throughout the album and I can respect that. The biggest road bumps for me were in production choices and vocal inflection. Not a deal breaker though. I think there's a future for Dirt Russell and not just because I love that name and kinda need the t-shirt now.
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