Dirty Sound Magnet – Live Alert (2020) – Review

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For long years, the RMR deck crew was not very fond of covers. Often, that song somebody else wrote turns out to be worse for wear. And some of them are truly pathetic. Ain’t it, Krokus1)?

But then, along came a few bands that impressed us. Covers can actually be good, and some are even much better than the original. So, the tide against them copies of stuff other people already whelped once slowly changed.

Now, imagine you have a pandemic on your hands, a parallel universe of sorts. One that finds large parts of the music industry more or less out of action. Sound familiar? Right. So, as no concert tour will appear on the horizon anytime soon, some bands just turn to their inner self. And start to use their studio as a live platform.

Dirty Sound Magnet just pulled this stunt. And in the process, the band created their very own set of covers. In other words, concert-ready tracks that they already released on vinyl previously. The result – Live Alert – now contains an eclectic selection of eight of their juiciest songs the ‘new'2) DSM produced so far.

For those who don’t have DSM in their DNA already, you’ll want to give both albums – Western Lies and Transgenic – a quick spin. It helps with this radar thing to detect changes.

You see, whenever I start on a review, I always look for the essence of a record, something that describes the tortured soul of that specific clutch of tracks. The glue that holds it all together, the pain, the gore, and sufferings if you like. And for this record, the band just smartly stated their mission in the remarks section of one of their videos on YouTube. Live Alert is – and I quote – “…what happens when you lock yourself in a room with your best friends and instruments for 10 years.”

Aye, I fully agree.

This is one record that shows DSM in their prime. All members are fully aligned to the band, the brand, and – more importantly – the style and direction they want to take. And this gives the disk a sense of uncanny authenticity that other bands often cannot produce. It immediately shows in those many clips they released, this is the real thing, they’re living the music. No cinematic antics for show, no overblown theatrics. What you see is exactly what you get during a concert with DSM.

So, once I hit the play button of Live Alert, the groove just hit me back like a counterpunch. This is rock so retro, you’d wish the ’70s and ’80s to return to you. Deliciously scratchy, a tune played by a band with Blues Rock in their genes, but who decided to go the alternate and juicily psychedelic route. A collection of songs in all its fuzzy comfort and decked out in tons of wah-wah.

The first track – Social Media Boy – is still reasonably aligned to the original. But once The Poet and his Prophet takes off, the gloves are truly off. That is true DSM in concert mode. Complete with old-style psychedelics and those out-of-control solos that will take your breath away.

Now, the live version of USA LSD BNB HIV rocks much better than the one on Transgenic3). Harsh, rough, fast, powerful, reasonably woozy – and completely aligned to the song theme. But – boy – that’s real blazing hot rock right there. A change of energy levels that becomes the song well.

And what about my favorite track Skull Drawing Rose? Same as the first track, this one remains near to the original. And why should it not, there’s already a ton of groove on the original version that I would never like to miss. Now, this live piece truly starts to blossom in the second half. Boy did I enjoy the extended solo, this is amazing guitar wizardry right there. And as an added bonus, you get lyrics that you can understand. On Transgenic them damn words always disappeared into the mix.

I could go on, of course. But let’s stop the rave, lest we lose our fans on RMR.

In the end, Live Alert authentically delivers a true sense of the concert stage – without being on one. And – yet again – the album confirms that Dirty Sound Magnet essentially are a live band capable of outstanding musical geekery. One that still delivers a true rock show that you don’t find too often anymore.

Now, let’s all hope that this Covid thing will leave us in a foreseeable future and we will again be able to enjoy loud and sweaty concerts in packed music halls. But until then, Live Alert comes in as a close second.

Enjoy, you won’t regret it.

Ed’s note: And the record made it onto the 2020 Top 10 Records. Congrats! And a new record’s out, try DSM-III.

Record Rating: 8/10 | LabelHummus Records | Web: Official Band Site
Release Date: 6 November 2020


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