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Dirty Fences

Too High to Kross

(Volcom; US: 9 Apr 2013; UK: 9 Apr 2013)

New York’s Dirty Fences are a rock ‘n roll band in the most timeless sense of the world. They chug through power chords at breakneck speed, but this isn’t about a punk sneer, a galvanizing against, but instead a gathering around. Too High to Kross is a series of heavy-hitting but party-light rock tunes that will get you banging your head and, sometimes, humming along. Songs such as “Heaven is Tonight” or “Under Your Leather” borrow from the Ramones or a more controlled version of the MC5, while other songs such as “Always on My Mind” or “What’s That Strange?” weave in a more theatrical size to the songs. Each of these is a brisk, energetic performance, one that might remind you of a rock history of which you weren’t necessarily a part.


If the catchy hooks of Too High to Kross are more immediate than the nostalgia they are couched in, the songs still suffer from a sameness, a uniform kind of zeal that loses power as it goes. Dirty Fences, in the end, sound a bit too good at honoring their heroes and in doing so often render themselves anonymous conduits for a long-ago established sound. There isn’t a moment here that isn’t danceably, head-bangingly fun, but it’s also a kind of fun you’ve probably had before.

Rating:

Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


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