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The Dirty Tones - Album Review: Sweet Thang

23 May 2024 // A review by Paul Goddard

For me, Blues music is the real soul music. It has storytelling like Country and folk music and passion like Rock music, but at its core it gives a window into the soul of the people creating it. 

The latest album from Auckland based The Dirty Tones is testament to a group of people who are clearly very comfortable with their art and but also not afraid to push the boundaries a bit.

On first listen I was struck immediately with the rawness of the sound. Bass and drums are clearly locked in, and the guitar sounds exactly how it should be. Not over-produced but ringing and screaming in all the right places.

Of course blues without an electric guitar wouldn't really kick it but the guitar work on this album is excellent because it does exactly what it needs to and no more.

It is at the front and centre of each track alongside vocals which don't growl along like your cliched traditional gnarled and grizzly Blues singer. 

This is a genre where singers can all sound quite similar. I couldn't initially put my finger on what it is that Tony 'Big T' Bullen has but looking through the music that influences The Dirty Tones it becomes clearer. Alongside the usual suspects there is post-punk, Sonic Youth and dare I bring this one back but even Shoe Gaze is sighted as a musical heart to be worn on a sleeve. 

Overall there is a Sixties feel and the spirit of The Doors and Hendrix flows through. What thankfully is absent though is any of the usual self-indulgent muso wankery that can often leave the listener yawning through a 6 min guitar solo. 

Each track on Sweet Thang has a pop sensibility ringing in at around 3 mins or less. All the unnecessary filler has been removed. 

We also have variation from track to track keeping the listener engaged and guessing what is coming next, often what does come next is a very pleasant surprise.

The stand-out track for me is the title track Sweet Thang. Coming in around half way through the album the down and dirty vibe oozes with that raw soulful energy that will saturate any room where these guys play.

It is clear that The Dirty Tones have honed their music by performing live and what they have managed to do is capture the energy of a live performance through ten perfectly paced songs that all stand up on their own. 

There is a formula to Blues music, but The Dirty Tones clearly like to push the envelope a bit and succeed by keeping things simple. 

Blues is music for the soul and with Sweet Thang The Dirty Tones have created one of the best Blues albums I have heard in a long time. 

If you are lucky enough to have them play in a town near you go along and get swept up in a moment that you will remember. With Sweet Thang The Dirty Tones have created a very Sweet Thing indeed.


About The Dirty Tones

The Dirty Tones are all about "Blues Rock at its Dirty Best", delivering a range of blues rock styles with high energy delivering a whole river of party. Their original song Can’t Stop Drinkin' Blues has had global radio play and the band has been in the top 10 of the Global Blues Artist chart, so far peaking at 4.

The Dirty Tones consists of Tony 'Big T' Bullen, Mark 'Fatt Max' Hill, John 'Wilksy' Wilks and Reggie Miller. Their influences are The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, George Thorogood, The Doors and The Velvet Underground, some soul, some funk and some punk!

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for The Dirty Tones


Sweet Thang
Year: 2024
Type: Album
Can't Stop
Year: 2022
Type: Album

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