Today's musical marvels hail from the U.S. Curiously their sound seems to emanate closer to Europe.
Availability: 'RollerCoaster' is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUofC23LHKg
Social media seems to be one of very few ways that you hear about...
music and musical talent more than 20 feet from your front door. As I have documented, almost daily, there is a lot of exciting and varied acts proclaiming themselves forth, and ready to be absorbed. A lot of my recent attention has been drawn to music from the north- most especially Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds. Originating from Surrey, I have been acutely aware of the summation and outpouring of youthful talent, spilling from the walls of the A.C.M. A lot of twenty-something solo artists, mainly female, each equip with a divine and powerful set of pipes, and all of them with an individual and personal set of lyrics and songs. Beyond that you get lucky I guess. I have a few well-placed and well-informed chums who can point me to the shores of refreshing musical lakes. There are a few websites- The Guardian, The Girls Are and NME- who have 'new bands' sections, that I can study and chase the selected stars; eager to see if I can review them. There is little forgiveness or bedside manner beyond these sources, for anyone looking for trans-continental talent. Twitter has come to my rescue. I have been in awe of a couple of Australian acts as of late, but very few originating from the U.S. of A.
This is where Project Dirty, fit into the parable. America, in their undefined role of 'Masters of the Universe', are a mass of contradictions. They have an unabashed frankness in their foreign policy and political agendas, an appalling attitude towards guns and violence, and yet have produced the most astonishing creative talents ever. As far as music goes, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Nirvana and Queens of the Stone Age, alone, prove my point. Obviously the U.K. is a fledgling sparrow in terms of size when compared to the U.S.'s vast and multitudinous geography, but in comparison terms, they have us beat. As of late there has been little whisper of any new talent emanating from the Pacific or Atlantic shores. Emphasis still remains on established acts. I am confounded, as there seems to be a segregated nature to the media, where, if you don't live in America, you don't get to hear of their new music. Let's put a stop to this, shall we? Sorry. Our duo, were formed 11 years ago, when vocal and keys man Rhett Fisher, and his associate Micah Faulkner happened upon their shared talents and musical template. They have a slightly fractious and bi-polar back story. Spending their formative years playing in L.A. to the west, and Miami in the east; they then went on to record an album and were signed to a label that sound capitulated and succumbed to bankruptcy. At a loss as to what to do next, the friends decided to take a hiatus (or were forced into it). They decided to stuff relying on band labels, and ventured ahead by themselves. Creating an E.P. ('E.P. 1'), and imbued with a renewed confidence, they pressed forward and battled for a solid fan-base. They have been tantalising fans and followers with the perhaps predictably-named 'Act 2' E.P. The twosome themselves are an intriguing proposition. The fellas have the looks and raw edge chisel of Hollywood playthings such as Gosling and Franco, yet have a down-to-Earth readability and close kinship that supersedes any narrow expectations. One slip of the finger, too, and a harmless Google search can become a rather humiliating court case. They are a sort of updated Project Manhattan, yet less secretive. Their hard upbringing and unhappy childhood, means that you are rooting for them before you hear any of their songs. It is impressive that when so many new acts throw the towel in, after the merest of critical scoldings, the boys have a hard backbone and a fervent inclination to succeed and impress.
I was, I'll admit, a little concerned when their music was defined as being worthy of the top 40. There seems to be a contradiction in terms between 'credible' and 'top 40'. The two are mutually exclusive. I shuddered at the prospect of a monstrous hybrid of The Script/Ed Sheeran/Maroon 5 and their ilk, and positively projectile vomited blood when I saw the word 'commercial' presented, without irony or facetiousness. I prepared to ink up my quill and write a big fan '0/10' on this review. Being a devotee of rock, heavy metal, gorgeous soul and '60s pop, I'd rather be trapped in an elevator with Danny Dyer, after having suffered a prostate exam from Edward Scissorhands, than witness the audio horror-show of anything that even reassembled 'mainstream'. Luckily, once I had actually investigated the dynamic duo's bank of songs, I was relieved and smiling. I think they may have undervalued and sold themselves short. This is why 'RollerCoaster' is a perfect prefect to have stand in the front of the school hall, and inspire the rosy-cheeked new students as to how to succeed in the modern world. A rictus of guitar punch sparks and ignites the song in the opening seconds. It has a pan-European evocativeness, and spirit. It churns and lunges, before the vocal comes in. Whilst ordinarily I would be adverse and affronted by anything resembling the current sound of R 'n' B and rap, there is an elemental nod to it in the delivery and atmosphere. The lyrics siphon a little bit left-field of an associated artists. They stick closely to the themes of roller-coasters and fairground fun, employing metaphors and sexual imagery to make their point. "Hey girl/I'm shaking/'cause you're taking me on a ride"; is one of the first things we hear, and sets the tone for the track. There are a lot of things to recommend within the song. There is a propulsive and consistently upbeat swagger and positively to the song. This is reflected by the electronic beat and multi-track vocal. The guitar work is quite sterling, injecting a rock spirit to the proceedings as well, which works well with the vocals. The metaphysical imagery is continued, with our protagonist expounding that his companion is sending him into a spin, and causing him all manner of consternation and emotional turmoil.
There are a lot of plus points, as noted. The track has a surging swing to it. The pace and attitude never lets up. In a market of predominantly downbeat or ambivalent-toned tracks, it has an infectious and sunshine smile to it. It has a lot of charm and spirit to it, and as the lyrics sometimes point towards grey skies, that is never reflected in the music or vocal drive. It is also a tight and well realised number that does not overstay its welcome and wraps up its political message in expeditious and impressive fashion. The two-piece have a staggering amount of charisma and warmth to them as well, and will win fans amongst the young and old alike. It is hard to be critical of a song that is relentlessly pulsating and promising.
If I were to suggest any constructive changes, then they would be few. Sometimes the lyrics do stray towards the simplistic. It would be nice to hear a bit more depth and sensitivity. It is understandable that the song has ambitions to be heard on dance-floors, but the guys have enough combined talent to inspire dancing feet as well as get people thinking as well. I would have liked to have heard some depth amidst the excitement. There is a tendency, too, to stray dangerously close to mainstream. Whilst the boys manage to earn a credibility that few of their peers do, there is a sometimes over-produced and too-polished edge to proceedings. It would have been great to have heard more of the guitar sounds, and perhaps less of the electronic derivations. When it comes to reviewing there is always going to be subjectiveness, no matter what. I like what I know, and know what I like, and I like the duo. If they can score a succession of hits from 'E.P. 2' and work towards a multi-faceted palette of sounds and themes, then that will help them make strides between the pop market as well as put their footprints in the underground scene as well.
'Project Dirty' have had a difficult transition from their creation to today. They deserve to be heralded and gain a new following, and cement the one they have. It will be interesting to see where they go from here, and what moves they make next. 'RollerCoaster' is the sound of a duo who...
... have a renewed confidence and ambition.