Dirty Revolution - The Heat (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Dirty Revolution

The Heat (2013)

Dirty World Records

Back in 2011, I walked into a club and was struck dumb by the vocals that accosted me. The voice belonged to Reb Elle of the Cardiff-based roots / reggae / ska band Dirty Revolution and as I watched their set, I was transfixed on Elle, who was striking to behold (partially due to being pregnant) as well as hear. She added that je ne sais quois which elevated Dirty Revolution from ‘so so' to something more special. Due to a lack of funds that night I didn't purchase the band's first album (something I'm still to rectify) but snapped up the chance to review this, Dirty Revolution's sophomore long player The Heat.

At first I was slightly nonplussed by the tracks on The Heat and I even began to wonder if this was in fact, the same band I'd seen almost two years ago. However, there was something that kept me playing the album, as I wasn't prepared to write it off so quickly and fortunately for me, something clicked and the earworms I so eagerly wanted arrived in droves.

Musically The Heat is a fairly laid-back affair, with a subtle blend of rock, reggae and ska combining to provide a particularly uplifting, yet relaxing suite of songs. Without a shadow of a doubt, it's Elle's voice that leads the way, but the other four members of the band provide a highly enjoyable musical background that's restrained even in the higher tempo moments.

Though hints of the Specials can be heard in some of these songs, the band seem content on ploughing their own musical furrow. The title track, in addition to nods towards the Specials, also has moments where Reb Elle's vocals have a Morrissey-like enunciation to them. Despite the laid-back sound there are moments of lyrical bite on "No Mans Land" and "This Community," which are both highlights. Another standout would be "The Frontline," which acknowledges those who stand up directly to fight or take action against what they see is wrong (I'm guessing that this is partially about anti-fascists standing up against odious organisations like the English Defence League) whilst also making the point that there are often other ways of making your views known, or that some people might prefer to take action in a different way and direct conflict might not be for everyone.

The Heat certainly has a summer feel to it but I can imagine that in the depths of the winter, it will be a good one to turn to, if one wants a bit of warmth in their life. Also, I find the album nigh impossible to listen to this without moving some part of my body; the sense of movement throughout these ten songs do not allow for a sedentary stance to be adopted. The cover art goes hand in hand with the title of the album, depicting quite a balmy visual with the use of rich and vibrant colours.