This album is the first unsolicited request for review I've received from a band I don't know (total number: still standing at one); while I can't guarantee I'll give a favorable (or timely) review, I do promise to review any such albums I receive. So to those of you who've been considering sending me your latest offering (I'm looking squarely at you, Springsteen), feel free to ask.
Being from Waltham, of course, means that we do give Johnny Anguish and the rest of Dirt Mall a little extra grease for the review wheels. Fortunately, they really don't need it. I checked out other reviews on-line and they all name-checked the exact bands mentioned in Dirt Mall's own press release. Conclusion: these people are lazy. (Me? I'm cranking out these blogs every few months with blinding regularity.) But I still think that the best description of their sound is a cross between The Cult and Buckcherry, combining classic rock with garage rock and some Billy Duffy-ish guitar sound.
This is a very good album. I love the opening track, "Hello Los Angeles", as well as "Rows" and "I'm Not Saying What You Did Was Wrong But Your Timing Could Have Been Better" (also a classic title); in fact, seven of the eight tracks are good to great IMHO. If I was going to make a criticism (and apparently that's what I'm about to do), it's that I sense some restraint in the recording; I feel like when I see them live, there's going to be a lot more energy flowing from these songs. It just sounds a little too shaped, a little too formed; it should be a little looser and messier.
But in the end, this one is a keeper. I look forward to catching them live, as soon as a date at The Skellig is scheduled.
Merch Rating: I will definitely attend a show and would buy a t-shirt, especially one featuring a goat with crazy horns. I would buy the next album without listening to it. I would not buy the unreleased b-sides or singles just yet, unless they feature some cover like "The Brady Bunch" by Weird Al Yankovic. (I'm just saying.) I would buy a Johnny Anguish solo album, assuming it was titled as something like Alone with My Anguish, Solo Anguish, or Me and My Anguish: My Life After The Snilch Report.
CD Placement Rating: This goes into the CD Rack, only because I have played it about 100 times in the last two weeks (not even exaggerating). Not a great car album, surprisingly, but I am telling you -- you will enjoy this, people. Pick it up from CD Baby.