Avoiding blues clichés.
If you catch the Dirty Aces live you may wake up the next morning still in your clothes. This is because they are the type of band that provokes extreme behavior of one sort or another, the group’s music a full-on and raucous blues racket, loud, in-your-face party music for the 21st century.
Sinnin’ ‘Gainst Me is a three track EP marking time until the release of a follow-up to 2011 album, Crooked Heart of Mine. There’s been a revamp of the band with new drummer Simon Small and bassist Tommy Hull, and it seems to have given the group a new focus and spirit—not that there was much slouching previously.
The title track is an exciting blues-punk hybrid, opening with some singularly dramatic bass notes. When the rest of the band join in, there’s a sense of determined attack: Giles Robson’s characteristically distorted harmonica playing is at the center, whilst the energetic drumming and lead guitar (Filip Kozlowski) drive the song compulsively forward.
“That Simple Step” is a woozy laid-back shuffle, an Exile on Main Street/Chicago crossover that is full of swagger and attitude. The spooky middle section necessarily slows everything down for a few bars to catch a few drinks. “Ain’t No Forgetting” is perhaps the standout. It’s frenetically fast-paced as the band pushes Robson to deliver his lyrics at the speed of a bullet train, and a showcase for some great playing.
This is a thrilling EP from a tight and creative unit. Avoiding blues cliché, the underlying aesthetic of three songs in under ten minutes perhaps demonstrates that this is a band on a mission: there is nothing wasted but everything to prove. You may get drunk, but you won’t go wrong with the Dirty Aces.