Dirty Hands play rock’n’roll. If an Independent article and website biography are anything to go by, they also really like James Dean and The Strokes. That’s three whole reasons to give Dirty Hands a try.
Listening to Dirty Hands is the musical equivalent of swallowing down a handful of gravel and four fingers of whiskey. A confusing metaphor perhaps, but one they’re sure to be proud of. There’s nothing half hearted about Dirty Hands, from the hopeful early notes of ‘Baby, Life’s Too Short’, to the first callous, uncompromising vocals, everything you need to know – or at least they want you to know – is laid out before you.
There’s something to be said for the basics. It is for a very good reason that bass, guitar and drums are a staple for most bands. That tried and tested combination is more than enough to provide the emotional backdrop necessary to make a song great. This backdrop provides an atmosphere for that which X-Factor fanatics (and therefore disappointingly the majority) would attest to being the most important aspect of most music, the vocals.
Whilst some satisfaction can be derived from flying against the societal winds, vocals are of course a vital aspect of
, songs. The drawling charismatic and constantly changing cadence of Dirty Hands’ Johnny Armstrong whilst not the MOST important factor, does its fair share of work in dragging the frenetic drumming and suprisingly tight guitar through the rough and ready journey each track sets out upon.
A subtle diversity is shown in the Dirty Hands songs currently available for public consumption. Whilst all possess a driving beat and sequential pattern of frantic guitar thrashing and crescendoes, the imbued issues and individual directions are clear in each. The affection and attempted romanticism of ‘It Breaks My Heart’portrayed well by the emotionally stunted awkwardness of the love sick cliché’s forced upon the listener. Each final begrudging admittance of love hastily succeeded by a dismissive bout of of raucous energy. This energy keeps the song rattling along through the air of acceptance and resignation, a devout determination to have fun however keeps the emotional outbursts brief and succinct whilst still retaining most of their cathartic weight.
There’s an undeniable sense of character in Dirty Hands, the opening words of ‘Baby,Life’s Too Short’ dripping more audacity and cool than should be possible. A self assured resoluteness echoes through the track, a catchy immersing tune keeps things bounding along, peaking only to allow the fervent wails of the lead to carry further. As the impassioned gasps and cries of Johnny Armstrong find themselves too much for the mic, it becomes fairly clear that this music is not meant be recorded, appreciated from the comfort of your own home and then forgotten about. This is music only truly appreciated live at venues befitting its stripped back, gritty appeal.
There’s little doubt that Dirty Hands are sticking to a tried and tested formula. Musical homage is made to the 1950s, comparisons easily drawn to early Rolling Stones. When coupled with the anachronistic, but nevertheless endearing shoddy production values and attributed crackles
Whilst rock’n’roll may be dead to those who think the greats have been and gone in a drug fuelled fury (except for Keith Richards, his continued existence is nothing short of a miracle). With these fine purveyors of what can be achieved with three instruments, a voice like grit and more than their fair share of enthusiasm, there’s no reason for it not to continue to flourish in the face of the media induced production monster looming over us all presently… That’s another for story another day though. For now just enjoy the engaging simplicities of Dirty Hands.
Rock’n’roll 4 lyf.