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We Have You Surrounded

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The Dirtbombs have been pounding out their chaotic, rhythm heavy brand of American roots music for the better part of a decade now. The Dirtbombs founder Mick Collins is one of the founding fathers of the Detroit garage rock scene (his hyper-primitivist blues trio The Gories achieved legendary status in Detroit underground of the late ‘80s) and the four albums of dirt-stained rhythm and soul that Collins has concocted with the Dirtbombs have only added to his already considerable legacy. Like all Dirtbombs albums We Have You Surrounded comes crashing out the gates with a pounding four piece rhythm section (two drummers and two bassists) providing a thunderously shuffling low end that never lets up. From the ragged chanted refrains of “Everlovin’ Man” which burns with the lo-fi fury of a scratchy funk forty-five, to the apocalyptic racket of “Le Fin Du Monde,” We Have You Surrounded maintains a gloriously predictable emphasis on unrestrained noise and frenzied hip shaking. Clocking in at a sleek forty-five minutes, We Have You Surrounded may be the Dirtbombs’ most focused and accomplished album to date.

Customer Reviews

Their most Detroit-sounding disk yet

In their previous albums, the Dirtbombs drew from Detroit’s dual soul and rock n’ roll legacies, creating a sweet yet dirty sound that was a celebration of the Motor City’s musical history. On their latest, We Have You Surrounded, the inspiration isn’t the Hitsville, Detroit of the past, but a Detroit in its eleventh hour, before the last building gets boarded up, the power goes out and the crazies take over. Frontman Mick Collins has said that every Dirtbombs LP is a concept album, and WHYS is no exception; it is a dark collection of apocalyptic tales from the rustbelt. Witness his straight-from-the-grave Dracula drawl on the goth-tinged opening track, “It’s Not Fun Until They See You Cry” (the eeriest Dirtbombs song for it’s title alone) or how he spews paranoid lyrics in a rap-like delivery over a mindless dance beat on “Wreck My Flow”. Meanwhile, “Leopardman at C & A”, taking its lyrics from a comic by V for Vendetta author Alan Moore, predicts, and almost embraces, a primeval return amidst the urban jungle ruins of the 21st century. The album ends with the full fury of the double drum, double bass, and guitar formation of the Dirtbombs being unleashed in an eight-minute long haunted house spook-out. But the end of the world isn’t devoid of Collins’s signature sense of humor (the ode to the Marie Antoinette of the end of the world in “Pretty Princess Day”), or his sense of romance. In “Ever Lovin Man”, he’s pleading for a requited love (“as the darkness melts around us/ I’m gonna take a stand/ shine the light of love/ and be your ever lovin man”) in what is the most soulful jam on the record. The end of the world may be nigh, but if the Dirtbombs have their way, we’ll be dancing through it.

Not the place to start

To be honest I wasn't as into this one as the other Dirtbombs records. There are some great tracks - the spectacular opening tune, 2, 5, 6 - but there's also a lot of filler or really half-baked songs. Songs 10-12 in particular are hard to get through, which is a shame for a band that released one of the tightest, yet more experimental records in the last 10 years ("Ultraglide in Black"). So, pick and choose on this one.

What a brilliant mess

I caught the Dirtbombs live a couple times in their Ultraglide period, back around 2000, 2001, and they were a riot, a massively upbeat and screwed-up briliant mess of garage, punk, funk, trash & thrash. People were dancing on the ceiling and fighting in the pit. Big, BIG fun. Boy is it nice to hear them still rocking in 2008. Now they're channeling primordial Iggy and maybe a bit of early Clash and a nod at the Diamond Dogs end-of-empire feel, and still rocking raw and hard. Check out the 3-song hat trick that starts with the humpy Stooges homages "Wreck" and "Leopardman" and then goes big-chord Clashy anthem with "Fire." Also love the Velvets-y "Sherlock" and "La fin du Monde." Rock on, Mick.


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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