12 Dirty Bullets Downsides To Making A Living Review

Released 2009.  

BBC Review

It's a decent, if unremarkable, beginning for a fiery young band.

Lou Thomas 2009

Hard-Fi have been quiet of late so there's definitely space for a new energetic, swaggering West London band primed to tear up the British indie scene. While the Staines crew incorporated punk and dub into their punchy repertoire, 12 Dirty Bullets are often content to hang their songs around a classic no-frills sound of the kind gilded by The Libertines. Here on 12's debut album Downsides To Making A Living this approach mostly works, too.

Dark Tales Of A Policewoman could easily have been written by Pete and Carl, with it's winsome jangle and lines about folk who, ''sat in the flat/smoking crack'' and push ''drugs not Tesco's trolleys''.

Good Time Girls meanwhile could be seen as alternative take on Boys In The Band. But here the party ladies are the ones with power, rather than the men. As singer Jamie Jamieson notes, ''You're just a boy in the crowd to the good time girls''.

There are unexpected moments of depth and darkness on Black Roses And Violence. Jamieson croaks, ''Her supple lips prefer the fist and it tears me apart'', like Arctic Monkeys man Alex Turner at his most angrily melancholic, while lead guitarist Michael Smith cranks out glassy riffs.

Where the band diverts from their kitchen sink dramas and tried and tested sound, the quality drops. Fatman particularly grates and sounds like some Limp Bizkit reject, while Sweet Suzie is more Fratellis than thrilling.

It's a decent, if unremarkable, beginning for a fiery young band, but 12 Dirty Bullets now face some tough choices. The key to future success will surely depend on how far they can take what is already a well-used sound and whether they can effectively carve out more distinctive lyrical ideas.

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