Dirt, King Ropes’ debut album is a raw and visceral representation of life in a rugged rural town. Easily the driving force of emotion behind this album is front-man and guitarist, Dave Hollier, who is a truly gifted lyricist with an incredibly expressive writing style. The true nature of this album feels more like a novel, with every song as a chapter. The only thing missing from this record is some sort of climax.
While the storytelling of the record is top notch, I feel that the musical counterparts are a bit monotonous. Sometimes droning on in an unexpressive way, not fully grasping on to the emotion the words portray. The drums and guitar feel like they’re there just to fill sound and nothing more. Some songs have noises that add interesting textures to songs and others just seem to have a more stereotypical rock identity. For instance “Dogleg Boy,” the opening track off the record is a purely classic garage rock tune, fuzzy guitar riffs and a constant beating drum rhythm.
To revert back to my point before, the album doesn’t feel to reach a climax that was being built towards, it just fizzles out. Not that the album has to go out with a bang or anything but the music just doesn’t seem to capture the tension and emotion Hollier intended to create. The music sort of sits on a plateau most of the time and doesn’t change much dynamically.
To digress a bit, I did thoroughly enjoy this album. I feel like I was transported to this place Hollier holds deep in his mind. “Shovel and A Pickaxe,” is one of the most revealing and compelling tracks off the album.
“Digging this hole in the ground, I might take something out I might leave something in there.”
The song is representative of an inner struggle between demons that are steering him to either come up with a solution or run away from his problems. A very common topic, depicted in a poetic way is a distinguishable feature Hollier brings to the table.
Although, the musical aspect is a bit lacking of engagement, but it is not without its cinematic moments. “International Shortwave,” is a picturesque song filled with lush guitars, airy vocals, and odd metallic sounds similar to noise an old car would make being pushed down a road. It’s a song that expresses Hollier’s admiration for the simple beauty everyday life offers. The reflective nature of the song feels like a call to home, a place with familiar faces, buildings and. As simple and mundane the topic of nostalgia can be, Hollier illustrates past experiences in such a way that makes the smallest of details feel momentous.
Dirt is a unique and fresh point of view on life and the intricacies that comes with it. The album is relatable and entertaining, definitely a strong debut for King Ropes.