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If You Don't Already Have a Look

The Dirtbombs

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Album Review

"The best albums are all compilations, anyway. Why? Because they're made up of SINGLES, duh," Mick Collins writes in his liner notes to the If You Don't Already Have a Look collection of various 7" sides, compilation tracks, and unreleased items, and you've got to admit that Collins walks it like he talks it. The Dirtbombs have released three albums and about twenty 7"ers (by themselves or as splits) during their first decade of doing the rock thing, and while the 2001 album Ultraglide in Black still stands as their most impressive sustained effort, if you're only going to own one Dirtbombs item during the course of your lifetime, If You Don't Already Have a Look may well be the way to go. Disc one features 29 Dirtbombs originals, disc two offers up 23 inspired covers, and if you want to hear Collins and his partners in crime letting loose with the full range of their sonic possibilities and influences, this set boasts a little bit of everything they do. You want punk rock? Cue up "Words That Hurt." You wanna hear some cool neo-Britpop? Try "Encrypted." Need a deliciously sleazy ode to the joys of summer, teenage style? "Cedar Point '76" fills the bill. How about some straight-up noise? "Brucia I Cavi" merits your attention. Gotta have a kick-ass car song? You need "High Octane Salvation." In the market for a glorious non-electronic Rolling Stones mash-up? The cover of "No Expectations" will make you smile. Solid '60s-style R&B your thing? "The Sharpest Claws" should be on your list. Wanna hear the greatest Lou Rawls cover ever? "A Natural Man" is track nine on disc two. Mick Collins has ruffled the feathers of a few fanzine writers here and there for loudly insisting the Dirtbombs are not a garage band, but while there's plenty of loud, fuzzy, sweat-soaked rock on If You Don't Already Have a Look, this set captures the group's almost schizophrenic eclecticism in grand style, and proves he's got a point — this is band that can head out in five directions at once while still maintaining their sonic identity and rocking the house, and you can hear that on each track of If You Don't Already Have a Look. Points added for a derisive Tori Spelling reference.

Biography

Formed: 1992 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

One of Mick Collins' many post-Gories projects, the Dirtbombs initially seemed to exist more in concept than in reality. As if in reaction to the bass-less sound of the Gories, the Detroit-based band brought together two drummers, two bass players, and Collins on vocals and guitar. And other than consistently loud volumes and lots of noise, the Dirtbombs actually displayed a surprisingly diverse sound, composing across a broad spectrum of styles from garage rock, punk, and glam to classic soul and...
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If You Don't Already Have a Look, The Dirtbombs
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