Manchester five-piece Dirty Laces have been grabbing a lot of attention in their homeland and with the occasional festival appearance (remember them?). A couple of singles have also been noticed and they are now releasing a new EP, called L’Esprit du Temps. A quick translation for non-French speakers is ‘The Spirit of the Times’ … more than apt for the ongoing pandemic situation, although the band do have plans to tour as soon as possible.
Their music is a distillation of 60s rock and pop with a British bent. Think MC5 crossed with The Verve with added melodies! Take the opener to the four tracks on offer: ‘These Days’ starts heavy and mellows for the strong vocal melody before the riff returns. A strong, sub-four-minute rock/pop/melodic punk anthem in waiting and a closing “na, na, na, na” section to sing along with when they do hit the stage.
‘Even Ground’ starts punky but has a delicacy during the verse as the guitar chord work and genius bass back the melody and then keeps breaking back into the rapid-fire and clever riff.
‘Exile’ sounds birthed in blues but, again, with their polished rock-pop sensibilities – this time MC5 are jamming with Sweet… all in a very good way. The bridge, for me, should have led to a guitar solo building on the great riff… maybe when it’s live.
The final track, ‘Breathe’ means we can add subtle and mellow to their musical lexicon with the piano-led intro and developing into a sort of power ballad that many a classic rock band would listen jealously to. There’s a neat video accompanying it with dizzying fish-eye views… notice the MC5, Beatles and Floyd albums and replacing the copy of ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ from the earlier scene is the mildly disturbing inclusion of ‘Binding the Devil: Exorcism Past and Present’, a book by Roger Baker, read into that what you will!
This is a very strong introduction to a band that will surely be more widely heard and acclaimed as long as they transfer this youthful interpretation of some classic influences into a full album – somehow, I think they will.