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Dirtbombs: If You Don't Already Have A Look

Dirtbombs: If You Don't Already Have A Look

Label:In The Red
Release Date:2005

By John Duffy | Posted 6/15/2005

If Mick Collins had his way, the LP would be long dead. When he formed the Dirtbombs after the early-1990s demise of the Gories, his goal was to release nothing but singles, 15 of them to be exact, and nothing more. And while releasing four vastly dissimilar full-length albums, the Dirtbombs have funneled the majority of their energy into recording singles for an endless stream of independent labels in North America and Europe. And they thankfully tracked far more than 15.

If You Don’t Already Have a Look collects a generous bounty of 52 sides recorded since 1997, six never before released. Hastily written, cheaply recorded, and always veering dangerously near chaos, most of the Dirtbombs’ Look originals are an oppressive mess of beelike fuzz guitar, mashed-up drums, and overdistorted vocals. But the odd formula does indeed catch fire in many moments—the crashing “High Octane Salvation,” “Jolene, “ and “Broke in Detroit (Again)” among the best.

Disc two’s covers are the real finds: What other band has done straight versions of the Bee Gee’s (a surprisingly tender “I Started a Joke”), Yoko Ono (“Kiss, Kiss, Kiss”), and Soft Cell (“Insecure Me”)? Even better are the tight garage-dub of the Romantics’ “Mystified” and the smartly crafted look at the Rolling Stones’ “No Expectations.” Listening to either disc all the way through is a bit of a headache, but Collins intended these songs to be fleeting stabs of rock ’n’ roll mayhem, not lengthy tomes.

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