Dirtbombs : Ultraglide In Black

Soul covers in garage rock style, and Detroit is the new New York

Detroit garage revivalist Mick Collins has put his bands through many incarnations in the last decade and a half. Out of The Gories (produced at one time by Big Star’s Alex Chilton) came The Dirtbombs, with their achingly cool underground pedigree, a thunderous two bass and two drum drive and ten personnel changes in the last four years.

Following 1998’s ‘Horndog Fest’ comes ‘Ultraglide In Black’, Collins’ tribute to the black music that fed him as he grew up. It’s a simple idea. Take some classic tunes by Sam Cooke, Smokey Robinson, Curtis Mayfield, Barry White, Stevie Wonder, George Clinton, play them as loud as hell with an evangelical zeal that recalls the MC5, the Stooges (and towards the end of the album the experimental hum and thrum of the Silver Apples). Cap them with Collins sandpaper gospel rasp and jump up on the table, punch the ceiling and bring it on.

The idea and lineage, which you’re not likely to forget, is reinforced with sleevenotes that thank the White Panthers and a picture of Mount Rushmore with Marvin, Smokey and friends set in stone. It might be gritty, but there’s even a version of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Livin’ In The City’ here that’ll make you question the original. Life affirming.

Paul McNamee