The first thing you notice about the debut full-length from this young West Coast band is how fully realized its sound is. Drummer Randy Rollofson has an unusually elegant style, simultaneously complex and solid, both skitteringly funky and rock-hard. Guitarist Jason Bringle and bassist Kaz create an equally unlikely powerhouse with their surprisingly seamless blend of funk, techno, and glam sounds. The album itself opens auspiciously with "Hey!," on which the sampled sounds of a Highland pipe band are pressed into service to support a song that is equal parts meat-and-potatoes rock & roll and glitzy electro-pop. But then things get just a little bit soft. Dirty Halo's sound remains rich and powerful, but the songs themselves start to flounder a bit -- a conspicuous lack of compelling hooks undermines "Deal," "Check It (Then Bring It)," and "Can You Hear Me Now?," all of which could have been indelible postmodern power pop anthems if they just gave you a bit more to hold onto. The band also displays a distressing fondness for incredibly tired (and endlessly repeated) lyrical clichés: "Can you hear me now," "Deal with it," "Check it out now," and so on. But the album ends on a very high note, with the blistering "Go in Style." This is an impressive debut; hopefully the band will continue honing its popcraft and do even better next time.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson