Philadelphia punkers Dirty Tactics are officially the band I overlooked last year. In a day and age where punk rock music is taking all sorts of diversions into different genres, sometimes I am just hesitant of checking out newer acts.
Maybe it’s the old man in me telling me to hold back as I sadly think I have heard it all or perhaps I’ve just grown tired of band after band sounding alike. Whatever the reason is, I am glad I took a moment to pop in It Is What It Is, the bands sophomore album on Say-10 Records.
From the very start of the CD I was into it. It was not because the band exploded into a infectious jam (that was later), it was because of a certain dated excerpt of an interview that opened the album. Where as I can not pinpoint who the actual band is that is being interviewed, someone who sounds an awful like Mick Jones of the Clash says “it’s just like, there just has to be new groups and that’s just what you got,” when asked where punk rock started. Without time to agree with that statement, Dirty Tactics jumped into “When You Wake Up” a dirty DIY sounding catchy-ass song.
“Baltimore” followed the opening track continuing with an infectious pop-punky (see, I told you that happened later) song that won me over mostly thanks to the use of the organ throughout. Begging to be sung along to was “The Process”, a pop-punk heavy track wit a dab of clapping to keep that good feeling going.
“Secret Lives” had an interesting prelude to an amazing track. “Train Song” proved it is ok to play organ in a punk rock song and have fun doing so. All I could think to myself is how amazingly talented these guys were and I was only halfway thought the album.
“Arkansas” was unlike any other song previously heard and perhaps my favorite. Upright piano, almost whispering gruff singing, and distant percussion brought together this quick gem of a track that begged to be listened to over and over again.
The shift in sound also applied to the final track “Blind Man”, a trippy track that sounded almost as if Jeffrey Lewis wrote it. Even if it was out of the norm I loved it and especially appreciated the repeat of “it’s what you got” taken from the opening sample at the songs end.
Dirty Tactics are group of talented and hardworking musicians that make punk, well…punk. They recorded the It Is What It Is themselves, work their day jobs when home, and tour when the time is right. I only hope to catch this band live one day.
It Is What It Is just isn’t just an album that I’ll be listening to a couple of times and forget about…and yes I mean that. I am pretty sure they will remain in regular rotation for me for quite some time. If you have not heard of Dirty Tactics yet make sure you put that on your to do list.