King Ropes – “Dirt” Review
Engineered and mixed in California and mastered in New York, self-produced “Dirt,” by King Ropes, was released on January 10, 2017.
“Dirt” – a name selected for singer/guitar player/mastermind Dave Hollier’s figurative dirt under his nails as a metaphor for life’s experience, is an interesting debut record. The obvious focus of King Ropes is Hollier, who seems to channel Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, John Lennon, and Alice Cooper intermittently, in nearly every song.
Elements of the raw, sludgy, stripped down music, juxtaposed with Hollier’s conversational lyrics and unapologetic impressionistic voice, would make “Dirt” edgy, Avant guard, and eclectic…back in the 90s.
“I’m interested in the contrasts between urban and rural, eastern and western, sophisticated and raw, sweet and bludgeoning,” Hollier states in the band’s bio. This quote sums up perfectly the music that makes up “Dirt.”
From the right coast to the left coast, Hollier found the inspiration to make “Dirt” in Bozeman, Montana (About 677 miles to far East and 25 years late). Inspiration that culminated in a laid back, nothing fancy debut album. While there are elements in this 10-track release that are quite pleasant, for the most part, “Dirt” is a conglomeration of what has already been done by a plethora of artists. Some songs have the foundation for good ideas, some are just silly, most are repetitive, and a few are original and border on being a bit edgy. There are moments of thought provoking lyrical content and some nice vocal harmonies, but there is also amateurish “screwing around” by the band, and some just plain silly songs.
I understand that the grungy sound is likely intentional, however, with some refinement, King Ropes could be good. Obviously, Hollier is a spirited writer, and must be a good musician to secure the talent of Konrad Meissner of Katy Perry fame on drums. Either that or he is just a really nice, likable guy.
I feel like I’ve heard “Dirt” throughout the 90s by every grunge band or performer on the bill of Lilith Fair, circa 1997-1999. I look forward to seeing what King Ropes does with the next effort, hopefully utilizing their own individual inspiration to create a unique sound and style.
The raw guitars and Lennon/Dillon channeling in Dogleg Boy is pleasing, and a good opener to an album that will unfortunately likely let you down.
King Ropes is:
Dave Hollier, Vocals, guitars, noise
Konrad Meissner (Katy Perry, Matt Nathanson) Drums.
Dylan Treleven (Silver Dollars, Oberhoffer, Widowspeak), Bass, Guitars
Ben Roth (Oberhofer, BOD, EZTV) Guitars
Adam Wolcott Smith (Zen Mother, the Growlers) Guitars, Keys
You can stream “Dirt” at kingropes.bandcamp.com
You can connect with King Ropes at kingropesband.com or at www.facebook.com/kingropesband/