On occasion, a band’s name and the album artwork combine to tell you everything you need to know about the music. Take Stryper’s To Hell With The Devil — between the heavy metal font, Isaiah 53:3 tag and the images of angels and demons, it becomes quite clear that your ears are soon to take in the sweet siren sounds of Christian metal.
Where Dirty American’s Strange Generation is concerned, these variables only tell half the story. The band name says you’re likely to encounter an assault of unapologetic rock ‘n’ roll, while the album’s artwork suggests the band is coming from a ‘60s San Francisco scene. Sure, you’ll find the fuzz guitars and bust-down-your-door backbeat of ‘70s anthem rock along with the occasional Blue Oyster Cult sentiment, but not quite the psychedelia the artwork suggests.
Not to worry, because the acid trip would only distract from what is an album that doesn’t waver from its commitment to kick ass, from the first note to the last. Remove the androgyny from Redd Kross, shake it up with an equal mix of KISS, Foo Fighters and Lenny Kravitz (and all their bygone influences), and give it space to breathe in an era stifled by the bottom line, and you’ll find one of the most impressive debuts of the 21st century.
No, Strange Generation isn’t going to break down walls or take the world to the next level, but it certainly isn’t simply rehashing old ‘Day on the Green’ reefer rock either. More accurately, Dirty American’s premier effort is more akin to Velvet Revolver or Stone Temple Pilots, with the freedom to place a toe, nay a foot, outside typical self-imposed boundaries.
One need only listen to the opening “No Rest” to get a small taste for what’s to come. Dirty Americans keep the momentum rolling throughout Strange Generation’s 13 tracks, mixing it up with a nod to The Doobie Brothers with “Deep End.” Gems like Strange Generation continue to be far and few between, so hang onto this one.