The Dirt­bombs

The Washington Post Sunday - - ADVICE & PUZZLES - — Chris Richards

Der­rick­May’s techno mas­ter­piece, “Strings of Life,” is a wed­ding cake of a song — ex­pertly con­structed, in­cred­i­bly sweet, ab­so­lutely mon­u­men­tal. But in the hands of a rock band like the Dirt­bombs, a tune this del­i­cate turns into a slop of ic­ing and a rub­ble of crumbs.

That’s ex­actly the point of the Dirt­bombs’ new al­bum, “ Party Store,” a nine-song ca­per in which the­Mo­tor City quin­tet trans­poses one of Detroit’s na­tive pop di­alects (techno) into an­other (garage rock). With “Strings of Life,” the band re­places crys­talline syn­the­siz­ers with out-of-tune gui­tars. Drum ma­chine pat­terns turn into drum-kit clat­ter. It’s a messy dec­la­ra­tion of home­town pride.

Which is to say, the songs on “Party Store” that work best are the songs that don’t re­ally work at all. Cy­botron’s “Cos­mic Cars” goes strangely grunge; DJ As­sault’s “ Tear The Club Up” be­comes an apoc­a­lyp­tic pep-rally chant; and the in­tri­cate per­cus­sion loops of Carl Craig’s “Bug In the Bass Bin” de­volve into an in­co­her­ent drum solo. It’s hard not to see it all as a clever metaphor for Detroit’s 20th­cen­tury de­cay — and it’s even harder not to shout along.



THE DIRT­BOMBS: “Party Store” will be re­leased Tues­day.

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