Dirt Dress // Revelations
Future Gods Records
Recommended Track: Revelations
Revelations EP, from L.A.’s Dirt Dress, is 4-tracks stretched out in a glaze of chorus-heavy post-punk. Yes, frenetic saxophones appear (did someone put James Chance in a strait jacket and tie a flu mask over his mouth?) A foggy synth shows up, too. And the record begins so promisingly. I thought, Oh yay this two-note guitar lead sounds like New Order’s “Ceremony” (I’d argue this to be their most powerful track; the poète maudit Ian Curtis wrote it). Then, Oh yay there is bass and it’s rock when rock was cool yay like the Velvets.
But the curtain and the rod of anticipation come crashing down with guitarist/vocalist Noah’s massively uninspired voice. Prosaic, rarely poetic (an exception from “Skin Diving”: I found a butcher’s knife /in a swimming hole /though it’s caked with rust /I cut the underbrush), this contradictorily ambivalent EP concludes its opening track with It doesn’t mean I’ve changed my mind. And throughout the Revelations EP Dirt Dress literally struggle with consistency: dawdling, meandering, delivering few lyrical or musical pronouncements.
Semantic salvation arrives late, in a self-effacing denouement, the chorus of the eponymous concluding track. “Revelation” offers the EP’s sole vocal hook, a sing-song melody that exists separate from any prior premises: I changed my mind so many times / I’ve realized, I don’t know what to say, hey.
Yes, Dirt Dress know they have nothing to say. Unfortunately, the only real enjoyment comes once they figure it out. Had Dirt Dress omitted the first three tracks and released “Revelation” as a single, five pies.