Suburban Dirts: Suburban Dirts

Superb 60s-styled electric folk blues

Suburban Dirts are a British electric folk blues band that’s heavily influenced by Dylan’s mid-60s classics, Bringing it All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited. Their original “Lost in Transcription” riffs closely on Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” “Tombstone Blues,” and other of his sing-song electrics and harmonica-laced ballads. Frontman John Wheatley lists Dylan and the Beatles as primary influences, which, given their influence on one another in 1965, makes a lot of sense. Suburban Dirts also bear ‘60s and early-70s influences from both sides of the pond, including Hot Tuna, early Fleetwood Mac, Big Brother and the first generation bluesmen from which they all took inspiration. There are hints of country-rock, suggesting the Allman Brothers and, in the case of “Someday, Baby,” Mike Nesmith’s post-Monkees sides or perhaps Glen Campbell-era Jimmy Webb songs.

The album isn’t all Dylan-esque electric blues, as “Ada” turns on a country waltz, “Stoned” edges into psychedelia and “The World it Turned” is a ukulele ballad. Wheatley has enough rasp on the edge of his voice to put across the pain and dislocation of these songs, which just as often center on existential weariness as they do on direct emotional disappointment. That said, there are plenty of lyrics grounded in romantic turmoil, and “I Ain’t Cut Out for Working 9 to 5” turns on the workingman’s plight. Guitarist Dave Moyes picks some fiery leads, and guest pianist Joe Glossop adds some twinkling piano in the background. Suburban Dirts’ Americana sounds surprisingly American for a band from Hertfordshire (the birthplace of Graham Green, among others), which suggests the “American” in “Americana” has fully transcended its geographical roots. [©2012 hyperbolium dot com]

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