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SOME NICE THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN SAID ABOUT DIRT:
The band’s website mentions that they are “in the tradition of bloody Australian swamp/noise bands like Lubricated Goat and Phlegm”. I’d add approving agreement to that, and add Venom P Stinger to the list too, along with NYC shouters Unsane. I’ve only seen part of a set by these guys live- my notes from that night are now lost but the photos do indeed show one of them with plenty of the red stuff running down his face following some sort of onstage guitar-to-forehead incident, so the bloody description is accurate, as is the noise. Unfortunately though they don’t seem to play live very often.
Regardless of the fairly short running time, with eight tracks clocking in at just over thirty minutes, they cover a lot of ground here on their first LP, from intense and urgent to slow and painful, with lashings of feedback and distortion to boot. Guitars are either shrieking and hitting the red at the front of the mix or muted under the huge drums and thick bass. The rhythms of these songs veer and shake, and “steady tempo” feels like an outdated concept. That short running time is really the only drawback with this– it just may not be quite enough material to get a proper grip on the Stabs
Deciphering the lyrics is fairly hard going- as I said earlier, there aren’t a lot of clues given here and they are often hard to hear under the (deliberately sludgy?) production. One common thread that can be gleaned is a sense of violence and creepiness, that’s more “Last House On the Left” than “Nightmare On Elm Street”, if you’re a cinema buff, more “The Collector” than “American Psycho”, if you’re a reader.
“Never Going Home” seems to be set in a dark basement where serious games are played out- “I got your number/You’re lying on the floor/You take your last breath/While I go get the saw…”- though putting that down in black & white takes away the um, charm of the line as it is sung. This kind of attitude can easily veer into bad cliché, but trust me when I say that some of these tunes hold more menace in four or five minutes that suckers like Slipknot or Korn manage to distill into a whole LP.
It may not be as easy as it should be to find a copy of this- though I suspect that may be somewhat deliberate on the Stabs’ part- but it’s well worth seeking out. If you want something to relax to by candlelight while smoking opium and drinking white wine in your recently scrubbed and now sadly empty dungeon, this is it.
released 25 April 2013