Thee Dirtybeats’ name promises music that’s edgy and heavily rhythm driven. The Chapel Hill band’s debut self-titled album achieves that in its grungy and aggressive instrumentation, but consists entirely of covers of 1960s songs with more guitar solos.
The music is loud and complex throughout the album — which unfortunately includes the lyrics. “Wild Man” is musically a perfectly vintage cover of the 1966 version by the Tamrons, but the lyrics work in the original in a way they don’t for the Thee Dirtybeats. In the song’s bridge, when lead singer Andras Fekete breaks into singing gibberish, it sounds rehearsed and awkward, not like a wild man in the way the original does.
Repetition can be effective — to a point. Three of the album’s nine tracks have choruses that consist of a single line repeated several times. It makes the album boring and predictable. Considering the band didn’t even write the lyrics, it could have easily been avoided.
On a few tracks, Thee Dirtybeats do make the songs their own. The cover of the 13th Floor Elevators 1966 song “Fire Engine” stays true to the original song in a more modern way. The vocals are more prominent and the guitars are louder, but it keeps the same tuned-down sound for most of the song that allows the music and the edgy lyrics to shine.
The band does little to establish itself as anything more than a tribute band to the once great garage rock scene. Each member sounds technically talented, but the band itself sounds as if all of the members are playing separate songs. There’s lots of potential, but needs more fine tuning, and frankly, more originality.