UK rock band Dirty Crawlers has always had a confidence and swagger about them and their sound which made the band mischievously engaging and irrepressible. Their soiled and enthused rhythm and blues flavoured rock songs y found their way to the heart with an honesty and eagerness which was refreshing and impossible not to be drawn into. Now to what will be a loud chorus of excited voices from their ever increasing following is unleashed their debut album Southern Headlines. With a revamp of favourites and a collection of startlingly pleasing new tunes the album finally announces Dirty Crawlers upon a bigger platform and already they appear to own it.
Made up of vocalist and guitarist Luke Wallin, bassist Nick Feltham, drummer Darren Parsons, and lead guitarist Kris Hutton, Dirty Crawlers simply rock the speakers with their new release. Twelve songs which play like old boozy friends but brought forth with energy and vibrancy that makes everything sound like virgin sounds. Whilst there was definite promise and pleasure in the previous singles which led to impatient anticipation for more, Southern Headlines exceeds expectations which were already high. The quartet from Staines has simply given a feast of straight forward uncluttered rock ‘n’ roll for the ear to devour and body to let loose to.
The album opens with Gonna Be Right and immediately sets out their stall. The song grips the ear taking it into realms of rock that never fail to light up the energy and need to participate. The flavours the band offer in their music is varied influence wise and the opener wants to reveal them all. With essences of the likes of Small Faces and The Who alongside the eagerness of the likes of Purple Hearts and The Creation the band sets the album off to a fine start.
A firm start is soon eclipsed by the following Second Touch, a song that takes one by the scruff of the neck with hypnotic rhythms, expressive vocals, and guitars as caustic as they are dripping filth caked melodies. It is gritty and totally unfussed about brushing off the dirt to be the clean boy your mother would love. The song does what all good rock songs should do, party in the ear and leave one breathless.
As mentioned a few tracks have been given an updating which actually kind of leaves one slightly undecided about them as in the case of the brilliant song Victim Of Love. With a 2011 remix the song is just as stunning and infectious as ever, inviting and probably regretting the need for some listeners to join is at the top of their voices, sorry boys. The indecision comes in the fact that this and others also revamped have a cleaner and more incisive mix which really does do them justice and elevates them onto another platform, but there is still a small feeling of loss for the rawer grungier sound. Nothing can deny the power and quality of the song and though and it is another excellent track to add to the growing list on the album.
The reworked These Few Nights, the insatiable bluesy Black & White (like Casablanca), and Spaces a song dripping emotive vocals and melodies continue the fine sounds and well crafted songs. Dirty Crawlers songs are quite deceptive, on the surface they just seem like simple wholehearted slices of rock but there is a depth and skill to them which reveal s the thought and heart that goes into the music. The Top Cat remix of Bottleneck is a perfect example; it taunts and plays with the ear like a kid with a new toy, swinging chords and melodies before the senses whilst stomping on them with robust rhythms. Initially it looks easy and without effort but the song is concisely created to engage, mesmerise and then command which it does with consummate ease.
Completed by songs like southern twanged Nine Day Wonder, a great new version of another crowd favourite Looks Like Love, and the heartfelt When She’s Gone, the album is a real joy. It does not venture into directions that break down the walls of invention but chooses to stay in pasture which ignite and deeply satisfy the heart. Dirty Crawlers have kept us waiting for this but time dissipates into a distant memory when it sounds this good.