Welcome to another lowlife highlight, another LP that I seem to have been the only purchaser of – really unjustly too; welcome to The Mutts Life In Dirt.
I picked up this grubby gem when it first came out in 2005* and after going ‘yeeuuuccchhh!’ at the front cover, I swiftly fell in love. No less a gorgon than Mrs 1537 has been heard to compliment the Mutts on occasion when I have played Life In Dirt. Praise indeed.
The Mutts style is hard-charging piston-pumping heads-down urban rawk. There is some serious garage voltage coursing through this platter. Just take the fizzing ‘Let Me See Your Face’, where the music alternately hurtles on towards the horizon and/or affects a stoned insouciance. Stop/start opener ‘Excited’ is another case in point, all biker bar boogie and testosterone squeaks, it’s great.
And more importantly, its great fun, which is precisely the point of all this rock and roll malarkey. Just jump on board second track ‘Engines’ for the ride of the year as it barrels off into the distance, ‘You were the catalyst to make me run’, exactly! The Mutts sound like the Cult propelled by the MC5 on this one and I love every second of it. The rhythm section of Sam Burgess and Adam Watson lock onto their groove brilliantly here.
The Mutts were formed in Brighton in 2001 and split in 2006, Life In Dirt was their debut LP and I only found out yesterday that they made a follow-up the year later. They supported all manner of hep droogs like the Raveonettes and the Dirtbombs, yet couldn’t quite take their sweaty scuzzy rock over the top. They certainly had the tunes to do it, just take ‘Blood Outta Stone’ with its’ insistently nagging guitaring courtesy of Bryan Shore.
Without knowing the whys and wherefores I suspect that the Mutts were just the wrong sound at the wrong time in the wrong place, which is a crying shame. Good stripped down primal rock with a heap of attitude can only be permarelevant as far as I am concerned. Fuck all your feeble foibles, the likes of ‘My Town’ will sound great played anytime, anyplace and anywhere, especially with vocalist Chris Murtagh singing his nachos off like that.
Best of all for me is ‘Stuck Awake’ which is all angular guitar shapes and spiky attitude; the sort of track that you could cut yourself on if you weren’t careful. If you did you would definitely need a tetanus shot.
Life In Dirt is exactly the sort of fun hot-rodded filthy gutter ride that I love and crave. Let’s face it, in musical terms, these guys didn’t just write their number on the bathroom wall, they smeared it across the mirror in their own doo-doo. Nothing here will change your life, but it might just change the way you walk. If you’re in the right screwed-up scuzzed-up mood, Life In Dirt truly is the Mutt’s nuts.
P.S: The band have made all manner of interesting downloads available for free on their Bandcamp page.
* on the format-who’s-name-shall-never-be-spoken-here and replaced it with a good old-fashioned LP last year.