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Pistol-packing garage rock
from New Mexico

The Dirty Novels - Pack Your Pistols
3 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Feb. 28, 2007
The Dirty Novels

Review by Tony Bonyata

Good old-fashioned gritty rock & roll isn't necessarily what you'd expect to come roaring out of the New Mexico foothills, but that's exactly what the Albuquerque-based quartet The Dirty Novels have delivered on their full-length sophomore release Pack Your Pistols. On it the foursome offer up an unrestrained collection of songs that combine both a healthy measure of Detroit garage rock with the urgency of mid-'70s New York punk.

The band is led by the charismatic lead vocalist and guitarist Pablo Novelas who channels both the deep croon of Iggy Pop - circa The Stooges Kill City, along with the aggressive howl that graced nearly every Nuggets-era American rock band's one and only mid-'60s hit. The production on Pack Your Pistols is lean, punchy and direct, which helps put even more emphasis on the band's aggressive musical prowess - staggering somewhere between tight and loose, drunk and sober, neat and sloppy.

With the verve of The New York Dolls' Johnny Thunders, Brian Keith's guitar rips and slashes cleanly through numbers such as "Who Will Sing You Lullabies" and "Detroit Detour", while the backline opens up with volatile rhythms that guns the gas for an exhilarating, yet brief twenty-nine minute ride. The foursome lock into, arguably, the album's highlight, "(When In Doubt) Turn It Out," where Novelas' delivery is reminiscent of The Thirteen Floor Elevators' Roky Erickson as he shouts out an impassioned, guttural vocal over the stomping rhythm and rudimentary, yet indelible guitar riff.

The Dirty Novels end up with a solid collection of immediate, unbridled rock & roll packaged in short, succinct songs. And while there's definitely nothing new here, who really cares when it feels this good.

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