Released on April 7, 2017 (Spawner Records)
If you like the faster paced Hanoi Rocks and/or Michael Monroe songs, the odds are that you’re going to love Dirtbag Republic’s sophomore album Downtown Eastside. About a year and a half after releasing their very good self-titled debut album, the tandem of singer/drummer Sandy Hazard and lead guitarist Mick Wood are back with an even stronger album. This time around, they are also accompanied for the ride by bassist Kyle Richardson and guitarist Andrew Cairns. I am not sure how permanent this line-up is given that Dirtbag Republic describe the band in the Downtown Eastside CD booklet as “Cast of characters in this chapter.” Whatever the case, they should consider keeping the line-up for as many chapters as they can because the results on Downtown Eastside are stupendous.
Granted, Dirtbag Republic appear to be the Hazard and Wood show as the duo wrote all the songs and produced the album together. Funny enough, on two of the ten songs listed in the CD booklet — namely “My Part Of Town” and “Thinking Of You” — Wood apparently gets top billing over Hazard (i.e. “Wood/Hazard” rather than “Hazard/Wood”) for the songwriting. But enough about the obviously very strong tandem of Hazard and Wood, what about Dirtbag Republic’s new studio album Downtown Eastside? Well, just like the self-titled debut album, it rocks from start to finish except it rocks even harder than the first. Every song is a fast paced one except the last track “Crawling Back To Me” which starts off a little slower than all the other tracks.
Truth is, if you like the first single “Junkie Girl,” you’ll most likely enjoy all the songs on Downtown Eastside. If you love the track, odds are that you’ll love the entire album! If you hate the song… well, I don’t think it’s really possible to hate the song if you like sleaze rock! What Dirtbag Republic do very well on Downtown Eastside is come up with nine or arguably ten fast paced rockers that seemingly follow the same type of formula. To me, it’s like a musical orgasm to my ears. While Hanoi Rocks and/or Michael Monroe might offer you one or two really cool fast paced rockers on one album, Dirtbag Republic offer you nine of them in a row! It’s very tough to pick one song over the other because each time I listen to the album, it seems that I have a new favorite song.
One thing that Dirtbag Republic have overcome, which was a bit of a hindrance on the first album, is Sandy Hazard‘s singing. Let’s face it, Hazard is never going to be known as the best singer out there. In fact, his voice and singing are somewhat limited. However, this time around, Hazard seems to focus on the type of songs that he can best deliver on, which is the fast paced, sleazy, punk like at time, rockers. In addition, there are tons of background vocals throughout the album, which helps Hazard out and gives the songs a different dimension vocals wise. I should add that just like the self-titled debut album, Mick Wood‘s guitar riffs and melodies are really good and likely the backbone of why Downtown Eastside is so good.
Dirtbag Republic‘s debut album came awfully close to making the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2015. This time around and at this time, Dirtbag Republic‘s sophomore album Downtown Eastside is a virtual shoo-in for the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2017. I say “at this time” because we haven’t even completed a third of the year and we have already had some absolutely amazing albums come down the pike. If you like faster paced Hanoi Rocks and/or Michael Monroe songs, or simply great fucking rock n’ roll, picking up Dirtbag Republic‘s Downtown Eastside is a must.
01. Junkie Girl
03. My Part Of Town
04. Fantasy World
05. Swing And A Miss
06. See You In The Morning
07. Thinking Of You
08. Don’t Shoot Your Mouth Off
09. Free Falling
10. Crawling Back To Me
Sandy Hazard – vocals, drums
Mick Wood – lead guitar
Kyle Richardson – bass
Andrew Cairns – guitar
Roger Salloum – piano
Produced by Sandy Hazard and Mick Wood
Mixed by Stuart McKillop
Mastered by Svante Forsback
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, April 2017
Dirtbag Republic’s “Junkie Girl” lyric video:
Junkie Girl – from the brand new album available at http://www.dirtbagrepublic.com https://itunes.apple.com/gm/album/downtown-eastside/id1212390296 Out April 7th on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Amazon Music