Take a look at the cover of Howlin Black’s Dirty Lies, which features three youthful, and smiling men (one of which with what looks like a drumstick in his mouth), and attempt to guess at what music lies within. If you guessed ‘fun, fast, and reckless’ you’d only be scraping the surface of the full story.
Punk kicks you in the teeth as soon as “Dirty Lies” begins, complete with jazzy snaps and punching guitar riffs. If you weren’t in the mood to get up and start kicking around before, this song will change your mind.
“Conditional Love” channels a classic rockabilly sound while adding a substantial amount of energy. The guitar gives the song personality while the various percussion instruments snap and shake with an impressive depth, exacerbating the 3-D effect of the recording.
“What Kinda Life Is This” is a song that, for the most part, rocks to and fro with unpredictable speed. The lyrics up until this point have been clear but typically a bit overshadowed by the blasting melody; here, the content is much more focused and the listener can really soak up the meaning of the song. I found myself particularly partial to the downscaling rhythm that appears in the middle. It only appears for a few bars but is the perfect middle point for this EP.
“I Had This Feeling Before” is relatively calmer than the other songs on the EP, which presents a sort of gleeful foreboding as one wonders if the song itself will simply explode. This general feeling is supported by a noticeable crescendo as each part makes a sequential appearance and layers on top of everything else.
The final and appropriately titled song, “Out Of Control,” serves as the realization of the crescendo from the preceding song. It lambasts the senses, bringing back the energy present throughout the other songs and even managing to take things up a notch. A siren blares in the background as the repeating chorus brings the album home.
All songs average around two minutes, which seems counterintuitive until the first song attacks your auditory sense. Keeping the shorter lengths allows the album to maintain the in-your-face, lambasting energy almost all the way through, resulting in an album that seems unwilling to let you catch your breath even during the slow moments. If you like attitude and music that moves, this is a great EP to listen to.
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