The Dirty Heads’ latest release, Cabin By The Sea, which includes their single “Spread Too Thin,” is the perfect summer soundtrack with many well crafted tunes that display the band’s progress as songwriters and their overall growth as a band. Front man Jared Watson explains that “When ‘Any Port In A Storm’ came out we were still trying to figure out who we were. I feel like we…tightened up our sound as the Dirty Heads. We kind of found out who we were a little more musically.”
Certainly, Cabin By The Sea finds the Dirty heads with a more focused direction and as opposed to their first release, which was heavily hip-hop influenced, Cabin stays within the vicinity of the reggae sound of tunes such as “Stand Tall” and ‘Lay Me Down” (off their first album), which gained them a #1 song on alternative radio and on Billboard’s all format rock songs chart. Cabin is built around the theme of the band taking their fans away from everyday life and to the band’s imaginary party cabin by the sea.
The album opens with “Arrival,” a tune that spotlights guitarist Dustin Bushnell’s talent. The track, which is just acoustic guitar, vocals and some light sea sound effects, invites the listener to join the band in a place where, as the lyrics suggest,“we could go to get away from ourselves.” The sea sound effects merge into the title track, “Cabin By The Sea,” which goes onto describe the good times and harmony that everyone at the cabin is part of.
“Disguise” is one of the few tunes on the album that features a horn section. Here a nicely executed acoustic guitar solo along with the accompanying trumpets and castanets create a generic Mexican music sound, which in no way undermines the tune but is perhaps suggestive of where this imaginary cabin might be located.
Amongst the album’s many guest vocalist (Matisyahu, Rome, Del the Funky Homosapien) Ky-mani Marley, the only child of table tennis champion Anita Belnavis and reggae legend Bob Marley, appears on the track titled “Your Love.” Here Marley shares lead vocal duties with the Dirty Heads and together they sing of someone reminiscing of some of their first smoking experiences with their significant other and how it led to their love. Yet as humorous as the subject may sound, “Your Love” is one of the most soulful tunes on the album.
“Burn By Myself” steps away from the upbeat accent of reggae and creates more of a campfire sing-a-long vibe with its acoustic guitar dominated sound and extensively repetitive chorus of “By myself, by myself, Don’t wanna burn by myself.” The album closes with “Farewell,” a mellow all electric guitar track that in a sense is the counterpart to “Arrival,” that conjures up images of something being carried away by the wind or the waves of the sea.
“Dance All Night” feat Matisyahu
Though fans of the hip-hop sound of the Dirty Heads’ first album may be disappointed with “Smoke Rings” and “Mongo Push” being the only two tracks that keep to that vibe, Watson hopes that fans will find the album as “something you can put on, no matter where you’re at…and get away to the ‘Cabin By The Sea’ that the Dirty Heads built.”
The Dirty Heads are currently on tour and scheduled to perform at the Hollywood Palladium on September 18th and the City National Grove of Anaheim on September 20th with Matisyahu and opening act Pacific Dub. Tickets for both shows go on sale this Friday, August 3rd at 12pm.
Tony “Wolf” Centeno // KROQ Promotions