DIRTY KILLS: Dead End Shithole: 7”

The New Brunswick three-piece, Dirty Kills, are the definition of no-frills, evoking the relative haplessness and raw charm of a high school punk band formed as a catharsis for small town ennui. While some of the catchier chord progressions on Dead End Shithole tease a sense of optimism or hope, those musical sunbeams are quickly negated by lyrics about being broke, drunk, and directionless in a literal and figurative rut. All four tracks visit and revisit themes of wanting to escape while languishing in resignation. The apparently stream-of-consciousness lyrics are prosaic, often forgoing rhyme schemes completely as though the crushing weight of Dirty Kills’ desperate reality has left them too jaded and exhausted for poetry. However, words that may seem clumsy on the page become perfectly elegiac when paired with the band’s loose, honest, barely-keeping-this-van-on-the-road playing style. Dead End Shithole is above all authentic and will surely resonate with punks who have spent time—or who are currently serving time—in shitty nowhere towns. But for those who have gotten out and left it all behind, this stroll down memory alleyway may be a bit too real for comfort. –Kelley O’Death (Tour Van, [email protected], tourvanrecords.storenvy.com)