Everyone is Dirty’s My Neon’s Dead is a hard rocking record that is utterly packed with catchy hooks and a multitude of surprises. You’re going to want to crank this one way, way up.
At first glance, the Oakland, California band is a particularly skilled garage punk band, yet when you really dive into this album, you discover that they are so much more than that. From the addictively pounding title track to the grinding “San Andreas,” their sound contains a vast number of diverse aspects and shades. While most of the songs here have the basics of melodic grunge-pop that are not too dissimilar from what The Muffs were up to during their heyday, they also feature everything from hints of psychedelia, metal and even near-baroque orchestrations.
For example, “Wax Mannequin Mode” has strong In Utero vibes, albeit with more of an unexpectedly pastoral vibe, thanks to the accompanying strings. This is exactly what I love about this album: intense shredding one minute, and chilling cellos or violins the next. Many bands have tried this mix before, but the results have often been less than satisfying (or even straight up cheesy). Yet, Everyone is Dirty executed this combination of styles and sounds perfectly.
Every instance of these genre blends feel absolutely natural, without fail. The arrangements and production give the strings and rock instrumentation room to breathe, while also keeping them close enough, that it doesn’t feel like two radio stations being played at the same time. The two opposing styles end up complimenting each other wonderfully, while further effects have been added, giving the finished tracks an overall hazy, hallucinatory feel.
The real highlight for me though is the 8-minute closing track, “Window Eye.” The piece is a total sprawling epic with a variety of distinctive movements and moods. Things really heat up when the band flows into an intense jam after the two and a half minute mark. Distorted guitars shriek and flail and the electric violin cries out in total mayhem as the drumming becomes purely volcanic. The track of course serves as a superbly fitting finale to the album, as it really shows off just how excellently tight this band’s musicianship is. While I love all of the killer catchy-as-hell power art rock songs on this record, I do dearly hope that future releases will further explore this particular aspect of the band.
You can grab this album digitally or on CD, but you really need to snag one of the limited edition colored vinyl copies, which comes with a killer bonus 20 page lyrics zine with art by Bay area artist Lauren YS. It’s a perfect visual companion to and reflection of the music contained within the album (get it fast though, there are only 250 copies of this edition!)