George Lynch is back with a new project and album, Dirty Shirley. It will not disappoint his fanbase and is definitely worthy of multiple listens. With the help of Dino Jelusic (Animal Drive, Trans-Siberian Orchestra), a top vocalist who excels with Lynch’s brand of US hard rock, we have a classy, well polished combination who are not afraid to step outside of their comfort zones. This, their debut together which also includes Will Hunt on drums and Trevor Roxx on bass, offers eleven tracks that are positioned in a way that they offer the listener both variety and cohesiveness, and above all a lively, rocking album.
Dirty Shirley starts with Here Comes The King. The moment the vocals kick in, it is pure 80’s metal and a joy to behold. With its deep thick riff, vocally and musically it sounds like a cross between early Dio and Lynch Mob. The verses are melodic and it has a fist pumping chorus. A gentle midsection which leads to an outstanding guitar solo breaks up the song and shows the confidence on display. Second track, the aptly named Dirty Blues is a short punchy song that is reminiscent of Slaughter. It has a sleazy riff, would be great to dance to and continues the traditional classic rock feel.
We then get the first curveball of the album. I disappear is darker, more alternative, it features downtuned guitars not normally associated with Lynch and it is an experiment that works. The vocals touch on Jonathan Davis and the chorus sounds like postmillennial Korn. It is the fourth track, The Dying that brings Dirty Shirley down a notch. The vocals really come into their own during the smooth verses which have a beautiful guitar sound, but the simple hard rock chorus feels out of place and the song ends suddenly, as if it has run out of ideas. Last Man Standing is a return to what Lynch does best, good time party rock with a 80’s danceable groove reminiscent of Winger or Bulletboys.
Siren Song gallops along, like melodic battle metal with a hint of Kai Hanson. It slots in nicely showing further versatility and is in contrast to the seductive song that follows. The Voice Of A Soul has a deeper vocal and groove that is almost Coverdale in places. It features a beautiful guitar solo and is everything a polished rock song should be. Cold is a funky alternative number that has elements of desert rock, stoner, Saigon Kick and Whitfield Crane. Although Cold is not incredibly inspired, it does make for a decent prelude for the good time song that follows.
Escalator has the type of Texan groove you can really shake your hips to; pure heavy Southern Rock you can imagine being played in dive bars whilst rednecks play pool. In contrast Higher has many parts and feels disjointed, but, it is admirable for not wanting to stay safe. The final track Grand Master has a laid back psychedelic feel, imagine an acoustic Electric Boys with a guitar style reminiscent of Nuno Bettencourt. It is an atmospheric piece of music that helps you drift away to Asia, it has a bongo midsection and an uptempo conclusion which leads to a bonkers but fun end of the album.
With the final two tracks Dirty Shirley lose themselves in their own ambition but that does not detract from what is a great album. From the sleazy hard rock of Dirty Blues, Escalator and Last Man Standing, to the darkness of I Disappear and the seductive beauty of The Voice Of A Soul, this is an album where everyone will have a different favourite. George Lynch’s playing is varied and always sublime and Dino Jelusic has amazing range and warmth and manages to keep even the most leftfield songs together. As we enter the 2020’s it is encouraging to witness a new project that modernises classic rock and makes it fit for the new decade to come.
- Here Comes The King
- Dirty Shirley, Dirty Blues
- I Disappear
- The Dying
- Last Man Standing
- Siren Song
- The Voice Of A Soul
- Escalator To Purgatory
- Grand Master
Dino Jelusic – lead vocals
George Lynch – guitars
Will Hunt – drums
Trevor Roxx – bass
The album is released on the 24 January 2020 on Frontiers Music and can be bought from the below link.