Party Store

Title:  Party Store

Artist: The Dirtbombs

Label: In the Red

Formats:  CD, LP, MP3

Release date: February 1, 2011

Mick Collins’ Detroit garage-rock band, The Dirtbombs, has taken the bold step of doing a second album of all cover songs.  Party Store is the band’s fifth album, and might be interpreted as a sequel to Ultraglide In Black, their innovative and energetic cover album of classic soul and funk tunes released in 2001. This time around, Party Store takes an even more unexpected turn, with the Dirtbombs covering classic Detroit techno songs.

Seeing as how the techno music genre emerged from Detroit in the mid-1980s, it’s not too surprising that the native Dirtbombs would be techno aficionados. Their knowledge of the music’s roots is obvious in the album’s song selection. The nine tracks cover the essentials of Detroit techno, including songs by the African American pioneers of the genre―Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Carl Craig, and Kevin Saunders, among others.

The band does a good job of translating the drum machines and a lot of the synthesizer sounds synonymous with techno to their usual drum-set, bass and guitar line-up. Stand out tracks include their interpretation of Cybotron’s 1982 hit “Cosmic Cars” and A Number Of Name’s “Sharevari.”

Following is Scion Audio Visual’s animated video for the Dirtbomb’s cover of “Sharevari”:

YouTube Preview Image

The Dirtbombs manage to keep their unique grimy garage-rock sound, both in recording technique and performance quality, while respectfully paying homage to their unlikely heroes. Nevertheless, in my opinion Party Store still doesn’t manage to outshine the energy and creativity of their last cover album, Ultraglide In Black, nor for that matter, any of their previous albums. On the plus side, this release does manage to carry the double function of sounding like both an authentic Dirtbombs album and an unusual introduction to the ancestry of techno music for uninitiated listeners.

I commend the Dirtbombs for this bold effort.  One can only wonder, if they continue on this maverick conceptual cover album trajectory, what’s in store for future releases.

Reviewed by Sebastian Ramirez