Bang! Bang! - The Dirt That Makes You Drown (Cover Artwork)

Bang! Bang!

The Dirt That Makes You Drown (2007)


First I reviewed Bang! Bang!'s EP Electric Sex, a release that had its moments -- a couple kick ass riffs that bordered on solid post-punk -- but for the most part relied too heavily on retroisms and rockabilly clichés. Next came their debut full-length, Decked Out, which I also had the pleasure of reviewing. Here the band simply grew frustrating, painting the same exact picture, just in a larger scale. So when I learned that Bang! Bang! had hit the studio yet again I can't say that I marked the release date down on my calendar. Instead I merely prepared myself to be disappointed, and after the first four tracks I was. Here they were, the self-proclaimed "sex rock" band churning out tunes that sounded as if they came directly from the recording sessions for their previous releases. Yep, rockabilly meets new wave with squeaky vocals and the occasional killer of a spastic riff. But then "Loaded Questions (Intro)" came on and I found myself sporting the "this could get interesting" eyebrow raise.

I wasn't greeted with guitars that couldn't survive without reverb or tremolo, I wasn't subjected to screechy vocal lines, I wasn't even slammed with jittery new wave vibes; instead I was merely introduced to a subtle minor-key piano piece. And to make things even more confusing the song that followed this intro was fantastic. "Loaded Questions" was a dirty rocker with a bit of a slower pace. It came complete with a memorable melody, complimentary harmonies, foot-tapping energy, and excellent inclusion of piano. After the song ended all I could think was, "I want more!" Unfortunately, Bang! Bang! weren't ready to deliver.

The second half of the album was another letdown. Yeah, "I Could Die" and "Dirty Fingernails" were also nice surprises, with their hushed ballad executions, but neither reached the excitement level of "Loaded Questions," and besides these two tracks were surrounded by more of the dreaded retro jams.

Bang! Bang! had done it again, worked themselves into the "bands that have their moments" category and stayed for the course of an album. Thus the final track ended and the "this could get interesting" eyebrow raise was replaced by the "what are you going to do" shrug.