ALBUM REVIEW: Dirt Box Disco – TV Sex Show (Avenue Recordz)

For the last nine years, glam punks Dirt Dox Disco have been on an unstoppable rise through the ranks of the UK’s punk scene.

From playing gigs in the backrooms of pubs, they have become a band whose annual appearance at the Rebellion Festival in Blackpool has become one of the highlights of the whole weekend.

Every year there are more Dirt Box Disco T-shirts in evidence – testament to their growing pulling power, and a modern band that punks old and young really believe in.

Looking like partygoers who’ve been left with the poundshop dregs of the dressing up box, their show is about swaggering tunes played with real passion, huge singalong choruses and a tide of crowd-surfers.

Dirt Box Disco in full flow. Pic: Gary Welford.

They are nothing if not prolific – this is their eighth album in nine years if you include 2018’s Hooray Hooray, which collected the pick of their work so far for their new label.

Even the departure of lead singer Weab.I.Am in early 2019 couldn’t derail the DBD express, and with guitarist and main songwriter Spunk Volcano now handling lead vocals (as well as fronting his other band, Spunk Volcano & The Eruptions) it’s business as usual.

TV Sex Show is another slice of largely irreverent singalong punked-up rock ‘n’ roll whose highspots will be popular additions to their live set.

I’m thinking of Insomniac, whose guitars are like Status Quo on steroids, the bullshit-free Dickhead And The Hype, the catchy-as-hell Bitch Full Of Stitches, and the standout track, The Count Of Monte Cristo Lives In San Francisco.

Spunk Volcano of Dirt Box Disco at North East Calling 2019. Pic: Gary Welford.

Their influences range from Showaddywaddy and Kiss to the Ramones and Rancid, and what they have in common with all those bands is the knack of making catchy, melodic, riff-filled music which has you singing along in no time.

Not all their songs are light-hearted subjects: the opening Unstoppable – their most commercial-sounding song yet – seems to be a bitter-sweet farewell note to Weab, while 3 Bottles Down tackles seeking solace in alcohol, and Ain’t Life Grand addresses mental health.

I’d go so far as to say this is their most mature album yet – but don’t worry, they haven’t gone too serious on us.

On Simple But Effective they share the secret to their success: “Sing a song of sex pests, politics and shame, four and 20 punk bands sounding all the same … let’s kept it short and sweet and simple but effective,”

And while DBD might look a bit of a clip, and some of their lyrics might not be entirely serious, they are fine musicians, enormous fun, and showing no signs of letting up any time soon. They are Dirt Box, they are bastards, and we love them! 8/10.

Dirt Box Disco are a hugely enjoyable live act. Pic: Gary Welford.
Gary Welford owner