Dirtbag Republic – ‘Downtown Eastside’ (Spawner Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Ben Hughes   
Monday, 11 September 2017 04:30

Dirtbag Republic artworkIt’s been two years since Vancouver glunk rockers Dirtbag Republic released their rather splendid self-titled debut album on an unsuspecting world. The brain child of Sandy Hazard and Mick Wood, it was an album that evoked the sounds of early Hanoi Rocks, classic NY Dolls and the sleaziest parts of Aerosmith and Cheap Trick all rolled into one cheap n’ nasty, yet glorious package. What more could any lover of rock ‘n’ roll ask for? Well how about a follow up?


Well, hold on to your bottle of Thunderbird you sleazy fuckers, as Messrs Hazard and Wood continue on their own boulevard of broken dreams with the release of their sophomore long player, ‘Downtown Eastside’.


Joining the two on this journey of love, hate and deceit are a couple of newly recruited Dirtbags: Kyle Richardson on bass and Andrew Cairns on guitar. So, following in the Cuban heeled footsteps of Johansen/Thunders and Monroe/McCoy, Dirtbag Republic deliver part two of their rock ‘n’ roll dream. Ten tracks of raw, unadulterated, yet melodic punk ‘n’ roll, straight from the heart and soul of Hazard/Wood.


There’s something overly familiar about the tunes on ‘Downtown Eastside’. Whether it’s Hazard’s uncanny similarity to Michael Monroe in the vocal department, the low slung, sleazy riffs and killer choruses with gang vocals, or maybe it’s just the fact that I like songs about junkie girls and sleazy losers.


Take ‘Fantasy World’, a “one-two-free-four” Ramones shouted intro leads into a punked-up, power chord attack and we are in Demoliton 23 territory, before a more traditional vintage Hanoi catchy-as-fuck chorus takes over, what a tune! ‘Swing And A Miss’ goes all Creedence Clearwater Revival as Hazard recalls a tale of teenage times standing up for his lady.


But, I’m getting ahead of myself here: rewind a few tracks and album opener ‘Junkie Girl’ sure treads a familiar path, but it’s one I love to revisit time and time again. It’s a tantalising slice of glunk if ever I heard one, evoking the spirit of Hanoi Rocks in every chord and in every beat of the drum. The following ‘Homeless’ is low slung glamour punk to the max, riffs set to stun and a rousing chorus that owes as much to Cheap Trick as it does to Hanoi. Gloriously dishevelled rock ‘n’ roll, designed to make you move and make you groove.



And, meanwhile back in the jungle, ‘Thinking Of You’ is all Thunders riffs and upbeat, punky goodness with that certain shake appeal that makes for essential listening, if you know what I mean, you need it in your life.


With ‘Downtown Eastside’ Dirtbag Republic deliver the goods just as expected. It’s a tried and tested formula by a band who wear their influences on their sleeves and make no bones about using them to the best of their abilities. And frankly we wouldn’t want it any other way would we?


Bangkok shocks, Saigon shakes and Dirtbag Republic rocks indeed, every night and every day.


‘Downtown Eastside’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.




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