By Sam Graham
The only words that can sum up Manchester-based Dirty Habit’s self-titled EP are balls to the wall, unashamed rock and roll.
Sounding both classic and new at the same time, the opening track, Rock And Roll Victim is the most definitive sounding on the EP, and has a feel to it much like Kiss or Airbourne, but with a grimier, The Bar from Terminator 2 feel to it.
Bassist and lead vocalist Jo is a welcomed treat to the music as this brand is most commonly male-fronted. She gives it that edge, and doesn’t come across as being there for the novelty. Her vocal style and lyrical content put me in mind of Brett Anderson from The Donnas. In fact, Dirty Habit sound a lot like The Donnas as they’re both in the same kind of bolshie rock and roll area. This comparison is most prominent on the last track, Backstage Pass as it instantly made me think of Love You Till It Hurts (2007).
With these three tracks alone Dirty Habit show they have a wide range. Done and Over is more punky and sounds like a complete departure from the other two. Faster-paced, looser and generally happier. Also, it’s in this song where drummer Toby shows just how good he is whereas Guitarist Dan uses the opening and final tracks to flex his fingers, and the solos are just what you’d expect: dripping with cool and oozing cheese.
On the topic of cheese, lyrically, Dirty Habit are about as cliché as it can get. Their content consists of the following: I used to be uncool then I discovered rock and now I drink and stuff, they broke up so hurry up and get over it, and I’m in a band therefore you want to do me. See what I mean? But it doesn’t really matter; not to me anyway. It still makes for cool music and some catchy as hell hooks, which this band excel at. Plus if anyone was going to gripe at a band for cliché lyrics, allow me to list AC/DC’s lyrical history…
If I had to pick a flaw with the EP (and I do, or it just wouldn’t be fair), I’d say that this kind of music is a well-trodden path and as such, it’s not really anything new. However while it may not be ground-breaking or boundary-pushing in any way, I (and I reckon the band) don’t care as it’s still cool music and as cheesy as it may be, I love it. One other gripe is that the backing vocals in Backstage Pass’ chorus is somewhat lacking in effort. Maybe it’s supposed to be that way, as Jo sings it in a wry and sardonic way. Maybe it’s to keep that appearance? Who knows?
All in all, Dirty Habit’s EP, courtesy of Skratch the Surface Records, is fantastic. Well worth a listen to and they’ve just made it onto my ‘plan to go see’ list. A must hear for fans of no-frills rock and roll.
Devil-Horn Rating (Out of Five): \m/\m/\m/\m/\n