The Dirty Heads “Home | Phantoms of the Summer” album review

The highly anticipated album Home | Phantoms of the Summer from the Southern California boys, The Dirty Heads dropped late October 2013. Following their previous installment Cabin by the Sea, The Dirty Heads valorously released an acoustic album, which to say the least, is very uncommon in the reggae rock sub genre. There is however something to say about an acoustic only performance. Something raw and unadulterated that really is simply satisfying to listen to. It takes real courage to put down that electric guitar, set aside the effects pedals, and giving that drummer a set of bongos.  All kidding aside, this actually tells you a lot from the six piece ensemble.  The Dirty Heads sound really is a melting pot of SoCal rock, hip-hop, and a healthy portion of reggae.  With this new release, the courage paid off, letting their SoCal rock roots shine and at the same time, declaring how capable they are “unplugged”.

Sloth’s Revenge would have most definitely been included on the The Goonies soundtrack, right next to Cyndi Lauper and The Bangles

Personally, I’m not generally a fan of albums which incorporate an intro and outro, as I feel they’re just a waste of album space, however the intro to Phantoms of the Summer really does set the tone for the entire album. On the opposite end of the 11 track album, the Outro paints a vivid picture of a beautiful SoCal sunset being slowing and delicately engulfed by the sparkling waves of the ocean, signifying the peaceful end to a glorious day. Editors note: Your vivid picture may or may not be similar to what I have in my head, and your results may vary.

As with any album release, there are a true set of tracks that yearn for that replay button to be hit.

"Sloth’s Revenge" This track alone is worth the album purchase.  A catchy feel-good hook, head bobbing, lyrically brilliant track, with references to the ‘80s hit movie The Goonies. What else do you need really? In a way, this track cheapshots it’s way to my heart, being that The Goonies is one of my most treasured childhood films that I hold dearly close, and almost setting itself as being unfair because of it. Setting aside the nostalgia however, this track is good… really good. Jared has really refined his vocals album-wide, but particularly superb on this track. The melody is thick and consists of that quintessential Dirty Heads sound that sets itself apart from the others. What is unfortunate for The Dirty Heads is that this track is virtually 30 years or so too late. If given a time machine, Sloth’s Revenge would have most definitely been included on the The Goonies soundtrack, right next to Cyndi Lauper and The Bangles. How cool would that be? All in all this track is very representative of The Dirty Heads sound and spirit.

"Higher and Higher" It’s apparent that these tracks display a slightly different side of The Dirty Heads.  Higher and Higher is another great track from Phantoms of the Summer.  For every blunt, forceful set of chords, there comes a series of awe-inspiring emotion from the vocals. As stated earlier in the review, stripping back the pedals and effects, one could most certainly sense the emotion and raw power from the lyrics.

 

Home | Phantoms of the Summer is a very listenable album whether you’re relaxing with a cold one on the beach on a Sunday, or simply reclined on the Lazy Boy after a long day of work. Being that this is an acoustic only album, one would expect it to lack some substance.  This absolutely is not the case with this album. The combination of the vocals, bass, two acoustic guitars and a dash of percussions really do fill the musical spectrum leaving you with a clean and beautiful album in it’s most simplistic, raw form.

Listen to Home | Phantoms of the Summer on

Released October 29th, 2013 • Five Seven Music

Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Reggae.

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