We do take consistency for granted. Everyone wants to read about the latest upcoming artists, and for good reason. But it’s too easy to overlook the ones who have been consistently putting out killer records for years. Thee Dirt Byrds are such an act.
Beginning life as Thee Flash Guns before settling on the Dirt Byrds, this battalion of hallions consistently put out records of quality, anger and mirth, and have done since 2016. Blurring the line between garage and punk, they are an ideal crossover act for the NI scene and one we should be hoisting on our shoulders, proclaiming their greatness. But, for whatever reason, they’ve largely flown under the radar in this country.
Opener ‘Blame’ exemplifies this musical vision, with a driving main riff that is more than suitable for pogoing and an off-kilter chorus that hints at the more questioning end of post-punk. No bad thing at all.
‘Waste My Days’ goes into anthemic Oi! terrain with a chorus that not only could have come from ‘Power and the Glory’ era Cockney Rejects, but also manages to be defiant and melancholic at the same time. Quite a feat, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Coming on like The Cramps covering Alternative TV, ‘Daz Kapital’ is an entertaining rant (delivered in an English accent) about everything from toytown revolutionaries to the outlaw nature of the band. With the vocals veering from staccato to sneering, the whole thing sounds unhinged, as if Keith is about to explode at the end of the song.
Leaning more into their garage roots, ‘Yer Not Punk’ is a raucous two fingered salute to those who deserve it. Musically, this is akin to Billy Childish collaborating with Runnin’ Riot. This musical experiment carries on with ‘Addiction’ and I can very well see Colin McQuillan singing this!
While the band will probably continued to be overlooked, ‘Standing in Line’ is a taunt slab of garage/punk that not only consolidates the band’s reputation, but it also wipes the floor with most of today’s hyped acts. Its success lies not just in the muscular production and the fiery performances, but also in the imaginative songwriting that taps into a rich heritage of rock n roll but is unafraid to throw in moments that may throw the casual listener.