THE DIRTY DENIMS
Released on December 10, 2021 (The Dirty Denims)
Dutch rockers The Dirty Denims are comprised of some of the hardest working musicians in recent times. Prior to Covid rearing its ugly head, The Dirty Denims were playing 40 to 45 shows per year. That’s almost one gig per weekend and most of their gigs seem to have been played pre-Covid in The Netherlands. Even with the Covid pandemic causing havoc to the music industry and causing many concerts to get cancelled or postponed, The Dirty Denims were able to perform 21 times in 2021 including a tour of Spain for the first time. The only other band that I can think of that has played so many shows without a major tour would be Thundermother and you should know how much I like that group since its last studio album Heat Wave finished at #1 on the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2020.
Funny enough, The Dirty Denims‘ last studio album Ready Steady Go! landed the #3 spot on the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2020 so purchasing the Dutch rockers’ latest album Raw Denim was a no brainer. Raw Denim is a collection of songs recorded live in a studio. I prefer actual live albums but considering the difficult times that the entire world, and especially the music industry, has gone through in the last two years due to the Covid pandemic, I can understand why the band might not have been able to release an actual live album. As the linear notes explain, The Dirty Denims consisting of lead vocalist / guitarist Mirjam Sieben, lead guitarist Jeroen Teunis, bassist Marc Eijkhout and drummer Suzanne Driessen love live radio sessions and bootlegs from their favorite bands, and Raw Denim is apparently the Dutch rockers’ attempt to provide such a release.
And what a release it is! The first thing that struck me after listening to Raw Denim was that there isn’t one bad track on the album. Granted, The Dirty Denims played a greatest hits set from their two EPs, Going Out (2009) and Wanna Be Famous (2012), and their three albums High Five (2014), Back With A Bang! (2017) and Ready Steady Go! (2020) but you’ve got to be impressed when a band can come up with 15 great songs to showcase its talents. Sure, a few songs might stand out above the rest such as the anthemic “Ready Steady Go” and the easy to sing along to “Make Us Look Good” (which borrows quite a bit from AC/DC‘s classic track “Thunderstruck” at times), but overall, Raw Denim is a seamless listen from start to finish.
The second thing that struck me while listening to Raw Denim is that lead vocalist Mirjam Sieben has really an impressive voice since her vocals on The Dirty Denims‘ latest release sound very close to what you might hear from her on a studio release. In other words, you won’t be disappointed in hearing Sieben singing live since she sings just like what you might hear on a studio album from the band. We’ve all been to concerts where you just can’t believe how far off a band’s lead vocalist sounds compared to the vocals on tracks from that group’s studio records. I am thinking specifically of singers such as David Lee Roth, Stephen Pearcy and Vince Neil in that regard. That’s probably the reason why Ratt have never released a live album…
Getting back to Raw Denim, it actually took me a little while to get used to the songs, mostly because the guitars sounded a little fatter and less crisp than what I was used to hearing on The Dirty Denims‘ studio releases. In any case, after a few listens, I kind of forgot my qualms in that regard. Being more familiar with The Dirty Denims‘ last two studio albums Back With A Bang! (2017) and Ready Steady Go! (2020), Raw Denim gave me a chance to get familiar with some of the group’s earlier works given that five tracks are played from High Five (2014) and three from the Wanna Be Famous EP (2012) (although the track “Famous” appears on both releases). I’m surprised that Raw Denim didn’t include songs such as “Back With A Bang!” and although I would have liked to have the song included on the release, the reality is that there isn’t one particular song on the live recording that I would choose to replace it with.
Overall, The Dirty Denims have delivered some live recordings, warts and all, that aren’t perfectly played by any means but certainly capture a lot of energy and the fun that I think that the band members want to convey when you’re listening to them. All I know is that Raw Denim is the type of album that I can put on and will confidently know that I will enjoy from start to finish every time that I listen to it.
01. Ready, Steady, Go!
02. Fit In Stand Out
03. Dirty Job
04. Better Believe It
05. Last Call For Alcohol
06. Gotta Run
07. Even When I’m Wrong I’m Right
08. Going Out
09. Creatures of The Night
11. Roll The Dice
12. Make Us Look Good
13. Loud Stuff
14. Hit Me With Your Best Shot
Mirjam Sieben, – vocals, guitar, organ
Jeroen Teunis, – guitar, backing vocals
Marc Eijkhout – bass, backing vocals
Suzanne Driessen – drummer, backing vocals
Recorded by Julian Deckert
Mixed and produced by Marc Eijkhout
Mastered by Fokko Brandhout
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, January 2022
The Dirty Denims‘ “Fit In Stand Out” (recorded live) single:
The Dirty Denims‘ “Make Us Look Good” (recorded live) single: