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The Larry Normans - Album Review: Dirty Living

30 Aug 2023 // A review by Kerry MB

The Larry Normans are a hard rock/garage band that has been in and out of the music scene since 2000, when they formed at a party in Auckland City. 2005 was the release of their debut album and after a solid gigging history the band went into hiatus in 2010, reforming in 2019.

Recently released, Dirty Living is their comeback album of sorts. To sum it up more simply, this is a "hold my beer and watch this" moment, but in every positive way possible.

Twelve tracks of absolute greatness are about to be crammed into your earholes, you may like it, or you may love it. A lot. Thankfully, it’s the latter here, and trust me when I say the speed in which you will be not only following them on every one of their social media channels but adding this album to your most treasured playlists on your Spotify. It’ll be fast.

Ripping straight into opening track, HMF Sleeve. An absolute demolisher of a riff doesn’t just melt your face. It re-creates it. That’s okay though, because the hold this song alone will have on you, you probably won’t notice.

Elsewhere on this album, you’ll find songs like Breaking Dawn - again, with another devastating riff that takes you right there with every peak and trough. Fu Manchu might’ve wished this song was part of their back catalogue.

Even further in, Wicked And The Whipped is a gem with great distortion that wouldn’t be out of place on Kyuss’s Wretch.

This isn’t The Larry Norman’s first rodeo, and vocalist, Nathan Rea’s vocals seamlessly fit and flow in and out likes waves. Drink On has the biggest swagger to it, both musically and vocally and it reminds me of Jerry Cantrell’s vocal tone and his two bend, single note riff of Check My Brain from 2009’s Black Gives Way to Blue.

Once you think your ears have recovered from that, think again. Just to round things out nicely, the guys bring it down a notch with Numb. Another standout that just has that infectious toe tapping beat and even better solos.

And just to really throw a curve ball, stripping it right back with a gentle, melodic number that really hits left field is the aptly named, Art In The Fields. I wasn’t expecting this as a closer on my first listen, but the more you lean into it, it’s a great choice, and again reminiscent of early Alice in Chains (think Jar of Flies/Sap.

If there ever was a band more deserving of a ‘comeback’ so to speak, it’s The Larry Normans, and if this only the start, then get ready, because it’s going to be a hell of a ride.


About The Larry Normans

The Larry Normans formed around 2000 when the original members met at party in Auckland city, New Zealand. A revolving door of musicians stabilised around 2002 and the band started gigging regularly as part of a thriving local music scene. The debut album was recorded at The LAB and produced by Matthew Heine (Spud / Solid Gold Hell) and released in December 2005. The band continued to gig nationally, opening for Steve O & a slot at the legendary Big Day Out festival. Around the end of 2010 the band went into hiatus with members Andrew Ashton & Matt Hyde joining Head Like A Hole and Beastwars respectively.

2019 Andrew resurrected the band with original drummer Paul 'Bubs' Stephenson, singer Nathan Rea and bass player Jonathan Bowen.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for The Larry Normans


Dirty Living
Year: 2023
Type: Album

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