Dirty Heads – Cabin By The Sea

  • Cole Faulkner posted
  • Reviews

Dirty Heads

Cabin By The Sea - Five Seven Music

If California reggae outfit Dirty Heads prove anything with their latest effort, Cabin By The Sea, it’s that they are far from the one hit wonders many people had them pegged as after their effortless summertime debut, Any Port In A Storm.  Cabin By The Sea pushes their modern reggae in their most distinctive direction yet, and is sure to help propel them past that awkward “that band that sounds like Sublime” phase (try introducing them to a friend, I guarantee this sentence will come up), and rocket them past Sublime With Rome’s halfhearted comeback.  Mixing generous proportions of punk, reggae, and even hip-hop, Cabin by The Sea has a little something for everyone.  Â

The album opens to the distant squawking of seagulls against the slow pull of a crashing midday tide.  Moments later vocalist “Dirty J” floats to shore with a soft beach-bound melody and stress free tone sure to whisk listeners away to their own tropical paradise.  Not long after the aptly titled “Arrival” runs its course the steel drum and abundant Caribbean rhythms of the band’s lead single and title track, “Cabin By The Sea” float on in.  “Well come with me, to a place by the sea, if the ship breaks down you can always find me, and Dirty J chilling under the shady tree, our fans are always welcome with our friends and family” invites co-vocalist “Buddy B,” the quintet’s baritone and resident hip-hop influence.  The two of them trade off, back each other, and share moments across chorus and verse, achieving a rare symbiosis of style repeated a few tracks later with “Spread Too Thin.” “Disguise” serves as a classic example of the formula’s far-reaching appeal.  Built with a trumpet touting Latino vibe, Buddy infuses his hip-hop know-how across each verse while handing over choral duties to Dirty J.  I very seldom enjoy any sort of hip-hop, but with such a spot on balance Dirty Heads prove a very welcome exception.  A stress on authentic, full band composition also separate the band from all the pre-set, vocal heavy beatboxers out there.  Dirty Heads play an organic set; free of samples and high on letting their fingers fly with crystal clarity.

Since practically any of these songs could serve as the soundtrack to the summer, picking a favourite proves a difficult task, especially with all the far-reaching intra-genre variability on hand.  In addition to their steady basics, tracks like “Your Love” takes a slowed down, old school approach, mirroring their lyrical reference to Bob Marley, whereas those like “Dance All Night” define themselves with firm backing “woahs” and sing along anthems.   The only significant misstep surfaces on “Smoke Rings” thanks in part to the guest appearance of Del The Funky Homosapien and an extremely out of place tonal anger (not to mention a very colourful vocabulary).  Otherwise, the band shifts with a chameleon-like  between its many influences at their own leisure with an effortless ease.

Cabin By The Sea is the type of sophomore achievement that confirms Dirty Heads as more than one hit wonders, proving that they could very well make a career out of filling the void left by Sublime over the past decade.  Clear masters of relaxation, no song every feels forced, nor should anything (save for that one blemish) be missed.  Sublime With Rome, eat your heart out.