Music News

The Dirtbombs

In terms of Detroit garage-punk street cred, Mick Collins is more bulletproof than a horde of flesh-eating zombies. The Stooges and the MC5 may have introduced blistering scuzz-rock to the Motor City, but the singer-guitarist almost single-handedly resurrected that glorious grime in the mid-'80s as the leader of the now-fabled trio the Gories. And since the early '90s, the Collins-fronted Dirtbombs have fused thrash-fuzz blues to groovy soul, remaining a cherished underground secret but helping lay the groundwork for the garage-rock mega-revival (think of the 'Bombs as Mudhoney to the White Stripes' Nirvana).

Yet, despite that cachet and the fact that Collins always has tried to go against the grain -- the Dirtbombs feature two bassists and two drummers, plus the singer's genre-uncommon, Hendrix-summoning vocals -- the quintet's third full-length offering rarely asserts itself as anything more than another run-of-the-mill garage album. Coarsely produced rockers like "Don't Break My Heart" and "Thunder in the Sky" dominate, and though they don't lack energy, you've heard these vintage riffs, flailing rhythms, and wailing guitar salvos a million times before. The band fares better on less raucous numbers like "Sun Is Shining" and the excellent "Stop," both of which benefit from Collins' stirring, Motown-soulful delivery. Overall, though, Dangerous Magical Noise is likely to excite only the diehards or anyone still unaware of this whole garage-rock renaissance thing. Yes, all three of you.

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Michael Alan Goldberg