Among the handful of the singles that have been released in one format or another, The Kid probably best represents the band's muddied garage rock sound, with a flair for psychedelic. Laced with punk themes and melodic vocals, the fledgling five-piece can soar but never seems to lose its sense of density.
The recently released studio session also shows how much the band had improved since setting out to earn some notoriety outside of Liverpool. Their live experience seems to be driving the band's better sense of when to stick with the song structure and when to break away with the chug of an instrumental jam session.
The Kid is four minutes of riveting rock and roll.
Some critics might be quick to say that The Kid isn't necessarily the most original track in the band's arsenal, but the moody and repetitive guitar hooks from Jay Roberts and Ryan Ellis showcase vocals from Mike Ellis and make the track stick. From the open, it's all build and build until the band drops it back.
But later in the song, Roberts drops back to pick up Ben Robinson lightly banging his sticks while Lloyd Shearer adds a few key bass notes (along with some guitar finesse in the background). Then they close it up with a climax just heavier than anything that proceeded it.
Without the whispered arrangement three quarters into the song, The Kid might not work nearly as well. And yet, it is within those moments that you can reflect on everything that has preceded and recognize the individual talents that are coming together to make some solid rock and roll.
They do much the same thing in another one of the tracks released earlier this year (but not readily available everywhere), Black Heart/Filth served as their initial introduction. To get a real sense of the band, you have to listen through as the long single was originally two songs.
Since the songs were always next to each other, Robinson decided to muscle through to the next track without stopping and the band realized there was something to it. After play testing live a few times, they knew playing the songs back to back has a bigger impact on the audience and even in the studio. The front half is about betrayal. The back half is inspired by a dream.
Although The Kid, even when played along with Black Heart/Filth, is only a small sampling of what might make a full length, it does provide enough insight to understand why Deltasonic Records approached them after the band had only three live shows under their belts in 2011. While the music relies on the band's energy as much as the musicianship, expect The Dirty Rivers to make a splash with a solid LP by the end of this year or early next.
The Kid By The Dirty Rivers Picks Up 6.8 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.
Overall, The Dirty Rivers have as much promise as any young band can want. Ellis has a great voice and enough showmanship to become a memorable frontman. The band has many hidden talents and gives everyone enough room to shine during the live sessions (which we love), but mostly they are at their best with their heavy-handed chugging jam sessions. They come across like they are authentically going to let themselves get carried away without ever feeling staged like many bands do today.
The Dirty Rivers have a hit with The Kid, which can be downloaded from iTunes. The Kid can also be found on Amazon. You can hear their other single, Black Heart/Filth, on their Facebook page. You can catch them in Liverpool, Yorkshire, Leeds, and Manchester this summer (among other places around the United Kingdom).