Bang! Bang!
The Dirt That Makes You Drown
(Morphius Records)

By: Sarah L. Myers

They’re back! For those already familiar with these sexy bitches, The Dirt That Makes You Drown is just what we ordered: killer vocals from Jack Flash, spunky harmonies from Miss Gretta Fine, and kick ass back beats from Nick Kraska (drums) and Rachel Shindelman (keyboards). For the uninitiated, this is your invite, and there’s no better place to start. The record’s first three tracks alone are pop perfection and strike hotter than the lightening bolt regalia Bang! Bang! wear onstage.

Wasting no time, the frenetic “What We Need” has already been featured in a “Jackass” video. It’s the perfect pairing - someone has finally discovered that Bang! Bang! induce nothing but acceleration, deviance, and general misconduct. Flash spits out lyrics about cash, drugs, and the radio with an intensity usually reserved for the stage. “No Real World” and “Radio” from 2006’s Decked Out came close, but “What We Need” goes somewhere else entirely. This one’s covered in sweat from Kraska’s first touch down to Flash’s last functioning vocal cord.

“Prefab Nation” has been kicking around the live set for awhile, and has become a crowd favorite in the tradition of “Electric Sex (Down on the Dance Floor)”. Shindelman’s four opening notes carry the song, bringing together Flash’s nervous, stuttering vocals and Fine’s searing hook of “Oh, I look just like you!” While any of Bang! Bang!s songs could be massive hits, this is as good as it gets. By far the catchiest song on the record, it also has the most to say. In this musical landscape of complacent rebellion and assembly-line clones, Bang! Bang! are the new wave of salvation. Fine’s effervescent exclamations have her sounding more like X-Ray Spex’s Poly Styrene everyday.

“I Could Die” is a surprising and welcomed song for a Bang! Bang! Fan. We can stop moving our feet for a minute. A soft, droning melody showcases Fine’s voice in a way we haven’t heard before. It’s almost ghostly, barely hanging on to the gentle bass line that supports it. “She Came From Outer Space” brings her back to her foxy, hot-pants-wearing self. A nightmarish narrative about monsters and UFOs quietly builds to a swinging climax - by the time we get there we’re swinging along with it. The buildup isn’t the only quiet moment on the record. “Loaded Questions” even has a beautifully arranged piano intro, the bulk of which is carried on into the song.

Chicago’s sex rock heroes expand on their signature sound with The Dirt That Makes You Drown, but mainly stick with what they’re best at: shaking dance floors. “Breakout”, “All Messed Up” and “Surprise Surprise” are excellent power punk releases, perfectly complimenting the mix of the record. They just keep getting better at being hot little brats, which just goes to show you never grow out of it.



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