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Recently nominated in the “Best Rock Album” category by the SDMA for debut Of Monarchs and Beggars, Dirty Sweet deliver the goods again with follow-up American Spiritual.

“You've Been Warned” is a country strummer with a jaunty tune and a message of woe. “Star-Spangled Glamour,” backed a Small Faces–influenced chorus, spits at the stargazers who can't see further than the pages of Us magazine. “Get Up, Get Out” is an R&B number with a sexy, funky rhythm. “Marionette,” with it's stabbing organ, gospel harmonies, and spaghetti western chords, should be on a film soundtrack. And “Crimson Cavalry” rocks a la Zep.

The record has its tender moments too. On torch ballad “You Don't Try,” Ryan Koontz delivers his strongest vocal on the album. The title and closing track has a tribal, mantra-like chant (“Dark was the night and cold was the ground”) set over acoustic guitars. Closing the record on this somber note seems strange, but it (kind of) works.

For Dirty Sweet, rock music is borne of the blues and gospel; that's the soul of their music. American Spiritual isn't — and doesn't mean to be — a departure from their debut, but it's definitely a progression.

  • Album: American Spiritual (2010)
  • Artist: Dirty Sweet
  • Label: Acetate
  • Songs: (1) Rest Sniper, Rest (2) You've Been Warned (3) Star-Spangled Glamour (4) Get Up, Get Out (5) Please Beware (6) An Empty Road (7) Kill or Be Killed (8) Marionette (9) Crimson Cavalry (10) You Don't Try (11) American Spiritual
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