ALBUM REVIEW: Dirt Royal – Great Expectations (Time For Action Records)

Dirt Royal are an energetic three-piece rock ‘n’ roll band from Brighton who draw their influences from punk, indie and garage rock.

Formed in 2013, they released their debut album This Is Now the following year on the German label Time For Action Records, and have released a couple of EPs since then.

Co-vocalists Leon Fenton and Charlie Russell trading lines in call and response Pete and Carl-style invited comparisons with The Libertines, but there was more than a touch of late ’70s Mod revival band The Chords in their sound.

Now, with this second album, they have found their own niche, and it’s even more Mod-influenced, recalling ’70s bands like Secret Affair, The Enemy from the noughties and current guitar slingers like The Spitfires.

Dirt Royal are a tight unit, honed by lots of gigging (until this year, anyway), including prestigious support slots with the likes of Sham 69 and From The Jam.

I hadn’t heard them before, but was hooked from the off as opener As Good As It Gets sets out their sardonic view of life: “Take shit, there’s just so much of it/Get paid, only a little bit/That’s just the way it is, that’s just the way it is/Nothing we can do, nothing we can do about it.”

The album is well produced, so you can clearly hear the component parts – Leon throwing out three-chord riffs on guitar, Charlie’s rumbling bass and Los Hood laying down a great backbeat on drums.

The single Glory Days, about chasing your dreams, is a standout, but in truth there’s not a bad song here, as Waiting For The Radio, the ska-tinged Stand With Me and title track Great Expectations all offering messages of hope in bleak socio-economic times.

There’s plenty to enjoy in the 12 tracks here, and not a duff one among them. The slower, acoustic Never So offers a change of pace, which shows they’re not one-trick ponies.

Things end in typically stirring fashion with the closing salvo of Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down, When You Say Who Knows and latest single Lose Our Way, which is another ode to positive thinking.

Great Expectations is a really upbeat album which should appeal to anyone who likes jaunty guitar music; it’s packed full of catchy choruses, infectious hooks and plenty of melodies.

It’s available on limited edition vinyl from the Time For Action webstore HERE and as a digital download from the usual outlets. 8/10.

Gary Welford owner