Dirty Shirley (Frontiers)
Guitarist George Lynch has been a busy man of late. As well as continuing to work with his Lynch Mob project and occasionally joining up with old band Dokken, he was been playing and recording with a number of side projects including Ultraphonix, The End Machine and now this, Dirty Shirley.
The singer for this project is a Croatian gentleman named Dino Jelusick, who made a name for himself with his band Animal Drive. True enough — the guy is a powerhouse vocalist. Hide the “n” because the closest reference point for Dino is Dio. There’s a glorious power metal, operatic quality to his voice right from opening track “Here Comes the King” on this album.
Lynch himself seems to have decided that he’s going to have as much fun as possible of late; each of his projects sees him exploring a slightly different musical angle, albeit all within the metal world. This time, he’s totally on an Iron Maiden, Halloween and, again, Dio trip.
“At its core, this record is built on classic guitar riffage and grooves, but is also infused with eclectic tendencies scattered about that are unexpected and challenging,” Lynch said in an accompanying statement. “80% of the guitar work on this record is rhythms, so I wanted to create a three-dimensional sonic tapestry that complimented the more basic riffs and chords. I tried to add a little twist to everything. It was funny because when the label approached me about pairing up with Dino, for some reason I got the impression he was an Italian pop singer. LOL. So I wrote some songs in that vein, haha. Then when I heard what he was actually all about, I had to duck back into the laboratory and reinvent the wheel. If Ronnie James Dio and young Coverdale had a baby boy, his name would be Dino.”
That about nails it. And the fact that Lynch had to do some quick rewrites makes the album all the more impressive, because you’d never know. The songs are crunchy, hooky and delicious. “I Disappear” is a potential gig singalong, while “The Dying” benefits from some symphonic keyboards.
That’s the overall vibe — epic. There’s no hint of subtlety here, thanks god. The songs — written, recorded and produced between two countries — could have turned out patchy but they didn’t and that’s testament to the talent involved.
The big question is, what the hell is Lynch gonna do next?