Words by Ed King
On 15th December, a shrewd week and a half before ‘the big day’, You Dirty Blue release their sophomore Tough Crowd EP.
Out via the band’s own online know how and social media, Tough Crowd is all yours for the minimal fixed price of £3 – for direct info and online sales, click here.
A condensed follow up to the band’s somewhat monstrous debut, Tough Crowd is a three track skid through the raw grit we’re beginning to expect from the Tamworth twosome. Opening with the short and punchy ‘Nonsensical’, You Dirty Blue lull us into a false sense of something with a sneakily detached riff from Messer James, before… well, throwing short punches, across a two and half minute barrage of blues rock, duel vocals, and an ending that is gloriously unapologetic. I’m a cynic, but if this opening track doesn’t compel you to buy a TV, book a hotel room, and then do what every respecting human with a heart should do you might as well just stop breathing. A solid introduction, one you just know it’s going to destroy a venue near you soon.
Round Two begins with pace setting drums, courtesy of Messer Reynolds, and rolls through the altogether more melodic yet fast paced ‘Sharp Left Story’. Not quite as much fun Samsung suicide from the top floor of a Premier Inn, but just the right flavor for Radio 6. And comparisons be damned, but about two minutes in and I’ve got ‘Made of Stone’, ‘Peace Frog’ and ‘In Bloom’ all arguing over the last line in my head. Make of that what you will.
Another set up from Reynolds and we’re off towards the end, with the EP’s longest proffering – a radio play fuck you that “can’t please everyone” and will die trying not to. Careering into the grunge fast lane, ‘Gallow Dancer’ is a five and a half minute reason why you should go and see You Dirty Blue play live – raw and raucous, yet somehow packed with melody and sly little hooks. Again, I can’t help but think of another grunge band you could count the out members with less than one hand.
So, time for the negative. Hang on. Wait. Wait. It’s coming… nope. Tough Crowd does exactly what you’d want it to do, and precisely what You Dirty Blue are building their well earned momentum for delivering live. Without posturing or pretence, this second EP from a band who quite simply stick to their guns is job done, as far as this reviewer is concerned at least.
I could challenge the rough edges or the live sound, but that would be defeating the DIY object of the point here; if you’re a fan of alt-J production or James Bay laments then Tough Crowd is going to really piss on your chips. Other than cutting six tracks to three, or that the band clearly hate having their promo photo taken, those are about the only legitimate counterpoints I can come up with.
But if you don’t like it, if Tough Crowd isn’t going to be on your secular wish list this December, if your take away spuds are a little warm and salty whilst you cry alone into your pillow, then please email me something wittier to say. Otherwise go and ‘support your local music scene’ for about the price of a pint.
You Dirty Blue release their Tough Crowd EP on Friday 15th December. For more on You Dirty Blue, plus online purchase points for Tough Crowd, visit www.youdirtyblue.com
*You Dirty Blue will be playing at The Dark Horse at the Killer Wave End of Year Blowout on Wednesday 20th December. For direct gig info and online ticket sales, click here.