Roger Berzerk Fauske
Very much home based (no, not the DIY shop) for some Dirty Thrills. This lot are from London and have been around since 2012, very recent in musical terms, but they have already created a buzz with appearances at the likes of London's 100 club and Shepherds Bush Empire as well as having airtime on BBC Radio 2.
So the bio tells me, they formed after a successful drunken jam night in a quiet Wiltshire pub – I have spent far too many nights in far too quiet pubs, so at the very least it gives me hope for my drinking habits.
But away from my JD related cravings, if you like your rock classic with some sleaziness and throbbing blues mixed into the pot, then dinner is most definitely served. Even on first crank up, there is more than enough to make you want to delve deeper and get a closer look at the ingredients...
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First up is the single 'No Resolve' and the sleazy barroom riffery doesn't waste any time giving it large, echoes of the beast that was Zeppelin with its understated, fuzzy yet driving bass line and when the vocals hit, that is just reinforced. This is bluesy, rocky and sleazy all at once, vocals standing out above all the goodness with its infectious vibe and overtones of the likes of Paul Rodgers and the potted one.
'Burning Bridges' carries on where its predecessor stopped with more contagious foot tapping, body gyrating rhythm and melody. There is less sleaze to this one, purer in terms of its roots, but no less stirring. One of my pet hates is an album where all the tracks somehow seem indistinguishable from each other and this lot certainly don't suffer from that infliction.
'Rock 'n Roll' is next and has more urgency, the underlying feel even giving it a touch of the funky in places – Thunder spring to mind if you need comparisons.
'Resume Regret' has a different tempo and tone to it, heavier, meatier riffs and there is even a trace of some punk attitude whilst at the same time bringing home sights and sounds of Hagar era Van Halen (yes I know that's not genuine Van Halen but it has to be called something). Quite a contrast on paper, but it fits together very well, fused with the melodic vocals. It cranks up on the latter half of the song, filled with quickening and absorbing drums, pounding bass and emphatic guitar and it will definitely be a stormer on the live front.
'Is This Home' is a lot more sedate and the powerful vocals overlaying pensive guitar give it the edge over most formulaic ballad type songs. I will be quite up front that I'm not overly keen on this style of song, but that is probably because I grew up (physically if not mentally) in a time when there seemed to be a mandatory inclusion of at least one per album whether you were Bon Jovi or WASP, and most of the efforts were weak to put it politely.
Having said that, this does have its merits, the rise to the more powerful second section being well handled especially and screaming guitar taking it out of mundane territory.
'Reign' takes us back to where they excel and seem to feel more comfortable, some rocking out. Budgie's 'Breadfan' will give you an idea as to what you are dealing with on this one, shifting, never pausing for breath with some more bluesy and clean vocals sitting on top of it all. A good old fashioned groove shaker and about the right length too.
'Wolf In Sheep's Clothing', apart from being a canine fashion statement, feels the natural progression from the previous one. Great rhythm drive behind it, drums about to suffer from overheating, driving guitar but this one also has a few intricacies thrown in. Mid-section has some sublime bluesy and very soulful lyrics stamped on it before it heads off with some more of that funky backing, with great interplay between that and the voice.
'The Man Who Lost His Way' is another superb blues riff laden winner, pure vocals abounding, guitar dragging it along by its proverbials, drums filling in the space with more than a little intent. This songwriting is pretty much what you come to expect by now and it doesn't disappoint again.
The album closes out with 'Follow Me Home' and 'Sigh', the former especially in a rockier vein, killer riffs again landing straight between the eyes.
So there it is, definitely a good debut. The stand out ingredient is definitely the vocals, assuming you love your singing soulful and pure. But it all fits well together and there is no weak link, the production job is a good one with very little disappearing into the mix as seems to happen too often. The only thing missing to my ears is that one epic, that track that leaps out at you and drills its way into your consciousness to remain there for as long as it sees fit.
It will be interesting to see where they go from here, but if you see their name at a venue near you, you should do yourself a favour and check them out.
Louis James (Lead Vocals)
Jack Fawdry (Guitar)
Steve Corrigan (Drums)
Aaron Plows (Bass)