The Dirty Shirts don’t have any space for samples and loops in their sound. Filling the space between verses with synthetic material of any sort isn’t something that ever comes up when crafting their music, and you don’t have to be a professional critic to recognize that in a casual sit down with their new single “Gin & Tonic.” A follow-up to their much-buzzed debut, this latest release to bear The Dirty Shirts’ moniker is certainly one of the brawnier indie rock numbers I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing in the past few months, but its soul isn’t defined exclusively by the muscle it packs. Rather than sticking with the boundaries of one specific genre pool, this band is letting aesthetics bleed into one another to form something definitively their own in “Gin & Tonic,” and I couldn’t be more excited by the results.
This track wouldn’t be the same if it didn’t have a DIY-style edge to its master mix, and thus, it’s easy to reminisce about classic motor city garage rock when listening to the song’s best moments. The riff we start up with is on fire, and better yet, it never burns out in the way so many of the promising guitar singles I tend to preview do. There’s nothing more important to The Dirty Shirts than giving us tonal perfection, and if this weren’t the case I don’t think they would be doing so much to ensure as raw and unprocessed a sound in their content as they are here.
Danceable beats aren’t hard to come by in pop, but when it comes to swing-worthy rock n’ roll, the term barren might not be doing the current market justice. The Dirty Shirts put their weight on a good groove in this single and don’t let its power go to waste buried beneath an excessive lead vocal – the bassline and the drums are a constant source for excitement in “Gin & Tonic,” allowing for us to cut loose with the music without getting lost in a monotonous menagerie of aimless beats and sugary harmonies. These players know a thing or two about artistic balance, and that’s indisputable when listening to this amazingly well-rounded new song.
Countrified in its cosmetics but still cosmopolitan enough to sound punky and rebellious when it matters the most, I think it should be said that The Dirty Shirts’ new single “Gin & Tonic” is a must-listen for the alternative rock faithful and occasional college radio listeners the same. They’re still flying under the radar of the mainstream, but by cultivating a purely independent aesthetical identity, The Dirty Shirts can claim a sound that is both distinctly theirs and could potentially become influential if given the right platform from which to reach the masses. I don’t expect this crew to go away anytime soon, but no matter what the future has in store for their discography post-“Gin & Tonic,” I believe critics and audiences will share the same enjoyment of what they’ve done in this clever studio cut.
by Bethany Page