The Dirty Heads – Cabin By The Sea (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
THE Dirty Heads exist to make music that puts a smile on your face. Part campfire spirit, part surf culture dudes and part reggae rock, their sophomore album Cabin By The Sea is a summer record of easy-going delight.
Taking their cues from the likes of Jack Johnson, Sublime and Damian Marley, the album offers 16 sun-kissed tracks that should usher any blues away for the duration of the album’s running time.
Admittedly, some of the songs sound a little samey, particularly when sticking more closely to the reggae rock format.
But when The Dirty Heads hook it up and get it right, and expand their sound to draw on other elements, they’re one of the most effortlessly appealing bands around right now.
And the album gets off to a flyer with the beautifully stripped back and acoustic Arrival ushering listeners into their summer beach party in an acoustic style that Jack Johnson would be proud to include on his Brushfire label. It’s just so soothing, conjuring memories of waves, seagulls and sunrises.
That vibe is maintained over the opening moments of Cabin By The Sea, which actually uses the sound of waves, before blossoming into a charming calypso-tinged acoustic track.
Evidence of how the band can stretch themselves is then to be found in the celebratory Disguise (one firm album highlight), which opens with some classic stabs of brass and develops into a song that also includes a mariachi-style guitar stomp. And the vocals adopt a more hip-hop like refrain that works well, leading into the chilled out, bittersweet chorus.
Former single and IndieLondon record of the week Spread Too Thin follows with its magical mix of reggae and rock and its Sublime-meets-Sugar Ray vibe. It’s made for singing along to, while swaying in musical appreciation with one of the catchiest choruses of the year.
Given the reggae vibe attached, it comes as no surprise to find Kymani Marley cropping up as one of the album’s special guests on Your Love, which includes a chorus that tips its hat to Bob Marley and his particular brand of musical perfection. With its “whoa oh oh” laden chorus and head-nodding style, it’s another favourite.
Elsewhere, the boys add some funky bass to the hip-hop leaning Mongo Push, some more brass on Hipster, lush acoustica on the beautifully delivered yet yearning Notice and a laidback campfire sound to Day by Day.
There’s a smart tribute to slacker-ism on the similarly enjoyable Day by Day, some fast-talking rock-meets-rap on the sample-dropping, horn-blasting Smoke Rings, which also features a slick vocal contribution from Del The Funky Homosapien, and a heart-melting slice of classic acoustic pop on Burn By Myself.
Come the idyllic final offering Farewell and its return to the noises of the sea, you’ll be totally swept away by The Dirty Heads’ and their musical feel-good therapy. Cabin By The Sea is a warm, continually enjoyable listen that achieves most (if not all) of what it sets out to: to put that smile on your face.
Download picks: Cabin By The Sea, Disguise, Spread Too Thin, Your Love, Notice, Smoke Rings, Burn By Myself