The Dirtbombs

Horndog Fest

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Released in 2007, Horndog Fest was the debut outing of future Detroit powerhouse the Dirtbombs. The album opens with the screeching clatter of "Vixens in Space." An instrumental assault punctuated with periodic shouts of the title phrase, the song is something like spaced-out surf-rock disintegrating as it burns through the atmosphere. For those who survive the opening onslaught, the reward is sweet. With a sexy bass groove that stutters like the Knack at times, "I Can't Stop Thinking About It" is a swaggering beast of a song. Steeped in dirty Detroit garage, punk and soul, the song also hints at the feral sexuality of a reckless young Jerry Lee Lewis. The album shows a surprisingly young sounding Mick Collins turning in a solid but not quite earthshaking performance that only occasionally hints at the iron-lunged wailer he blossomed into by the time 2001's soul-rockin' masterpiece Ultraglide in Black rolled around. The rest of the album chugs along, almost without focus. There are awkward funk lines and sundry other experimental numbers along the way. While there are high points, the album eventually gets a bit bogged down by youthful experimentation and cuteness. By trying to cover too much musical ground, the young band spreads itself too thin at times. However, looking back at the album as it fits into the evolution of the Dirtbombs' impressive catalog, it's an interesting snapshot of how the band's sound changed, matured and solidified over the years.

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