Dirty Old Town

No Returning Home

Written by: BV on 02/11/2013 18:01:14

Sometimes I wonder about the implications of bands splitting up and the fan-bases they leave behind – only to emerge in a new outfit that’ll either appeal to their ’old’ crowd – or in some cases, repel that very same crowd. With Dirty Old Town, these thoughts came to my mind rather quickly again, seeing as I was quite the fan of Wrong Side of Vegas – the former band of Morten Christensen (the main man behind the Dirty Old Town Moniker). As Dirty Old Town proceeded to release a free EP titled “The Road” rather quickly after Wrong Side of Vegas’ untimely demise, I was skeptical at first – but unusually intrigued once I got really into that EP.

The same seems to be the case with the debut full-length by Dirty Old Town, “No Returning Home“, which emanates much of the same vibe of the EP – as well as some slightly more pop-sounding moments. What’s consistent about it though, is Morten Christensen’s fixation on a Kerouac-esque lyrical universe depicting a world of restless souls, love, death and a general fixation with vivid lyrics of black storms and devils lurking at every corner. This works especially well on the track “Black Storm is A-Risin’” – which, coincidentally, was also on the previously released EP. The subtly jangling opening guitar and the soulful, slightly melancholic vocals of Morten Christensen serve the purpose of being both haunting, eerie and entrancing to reel the listener in right before the track explodes in a cascade of fuzzy bass lines, bombastic drumming and one of the crunchiest guitar solos I’ve heard in quite some time. - Pure, unadulterated highway rock in its very essence.

Serving as a stark contrast, “In A Train Going Away” displays Morten Christensen’s affection for pop-infused, somewhat easily digested tracks that serve to be both memorable, yet not as powerful as the aforementioned “Black Storm is A Risin’” as well as “This Time”. Nonetheless, the catchiness of “In A Train Going Away” might be of use to Dirty Old Town, to serve as a slightly more endearing entry-level track for the listener that might not be in the mood for an entire album full of heavy thoughts on life, love and death seen with slightly philosophical eyes.

Where the soundscape is at its simplest, yet also most effective would probably be on the all-acoustic track called “The Rider”. The simple mixture of a single acoustic and a powerful voice serves the purpose of delivering the lyrics with a ringing authenticity that’s just hard to come by these days. One might say that this particular style of music might be easy to play, and that there’s not much development going on in the genre. I, however, think that sounds like a cop-out. There are still great artists pushing this genre through new territories and Morten Christensen is well on his way to become one of the bigger acts in the genre. It’s only a matter of time, really.

Download: Black Storm Is A-Risin’, The Rider, Devil Calls, This Time
For The Fans Of: Wrong Side of Vegas, Highway Child, Bob Dylan, Billy Wallace & the Virginia Blues
Listen: facebook.com

Release Date 18.11.2013
VME


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