Dirty Heads have returned with their eponymous fifth full-length, a solid follow-up to 2014’s Sound Of Change. The California-based act have refined their blend of hip-hop, reggae and rock to present their most polished release yet.
First singleand track (and first single) on the album, “That’s All I Need,” is full of a brand of nostalgia anyone can appreciate. From talking about first cars (“Every crack in the vinyl takes me back into time to where my Catalina idled/Spent my last buck on the title of my first car, my first love, where I got my first rub, where we did our first drugs”) to old hang out spots (“You keep telling me to make it/To the spot where we would stay lit/And finish bottles, never waste it”), the track really emphasizes the old-school feeling with a mellowed out groove. It truly sets the precedent for what is expected on the rest of the album, which includes catchy hooks and chill vibes perfect for long summer days.
The album explores more of a pop feel on tracks such as “Under The Water” and “The Truth.” The former stands out by slowing it down and amping up the beach vibes you’d come to expect from a band that calls California home, before ending with a sweet hip hop verse to give it more edge. The catchy chorus of “The Truth” is bound to get stuck in your head after the first listen (“Tell me the truth/Tell me the truth/First it was me now you’re saying it’s you/Make up your mind/I’m done searching for clues/Tell me the truth/Tell me the truth/Ask me no questions/I’ll tell you no lies/Something’s been stuck in the back of my mind”) and would line right up with some of the Top 40 radio hits of today. However, the electronic accents blended with a reggae undertone lend to making it even more memorable in a sea of diverse tracks.
“Smoke & Dream” pulls upon that electronic approach as well, making the track somewhat hypnotic as it progresses through each verse. Meanwhile “Too Cruel” hones in on the band’s rap sound, offering the most brutally honest lyrics on the album. “Realize It” brings the album to a close, driving home the perfected genre blend the Dirty Heads provide with every bit of pop, rap and reggae present throughout the album.
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