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Posted at 2:10 PM ET, 01/28/2011

Album review: The Dirtbombs, "Party Store"

By Chris Richards

dirtbombsDetroit's Dirtbombs pay tribute to some of their hometown's most beloved songs. (Brian Alesi)

In the new Sunday Washington Post, pop music critic Chris Richards will review a new album of note. Starting today, Click Track will begin posting these reviews on Friday afternoons.

Derrick May's techno masterpiece, "Strings of Life," is a wedding cake of a song - expertly constructed, incredibly sweet, absolutely monumental. But in the hands of a rock band like the Dirtbombs, a tune this delicate turns into a slop of icing and a rubble of crumbs.

That's exactly the point of the Dirtbombs' new album, "Party Store," a nine-song caper in which the Motor City quintet transposes one of Detroit's native pop dialects (techno) into another (garage rock). With "Strings of Life," the band replaces crystalline synthesizers with out-of-tune guitars. Drum machine patterns turn into drum-kit clatter. It's a messy declaration of hometown pride.


Which is to say, the songs on "Party Store" that work best are the songs that don't really work at all. Cybotron's "Cosmic Cars" goes strangely grunge; DJ Assault's "Tear The Club Up" becomes an apocalyptic pep-rally chant; and the intricate percussion loops of Carl Craig's "Bug In the Bass Bin" devolve into an incoherent drum solo. It's hard not to see it all as a clever metaphor for Detroit's 20th-century decay - and it's even harder not to shout along.

(Listen to samples from this album and the original techno songs that inspired them, after the jump.)

The Dirtbombs, "Strings of Life"






Derrick May, "Strings of Life"

The Dirtbombs, "Sharevari"

A Number of Names, "Sharevari"

By Chris Richards  | January 28, 2011; 2:10 PM ET
Categories:  Album reviews  | Tags:  The Dirtbombs  
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