Holly Golightly Dirt Don't Hurt Review

Released 2008.  

BBC Review

An album rich in character and full of nostalgic spirit.

Keira Burgess 2008

English Ameriphile Holly Golightly has a prolific solo career currently standing 14 albums deep, but it is arguably her high-profile collaborations that have brought her the most plaudits. Holly's work with an array of artists including Billy Childish, Mudhoney, Rocket From The Crypt and most famously the White Stripes has sporadically dotted her 17-year career. But during the last two she's been largely devoted to The Brokeoffs, a self-proclaimed 'one man drum and guitar extravaganza' also known by the enigmatic moniker, 'Lawyer' Dave.

Despite playing together for a decade this is only the pair's second recorded outing, but the rough harmonies of this second album belie their well-established musical relationship. Squeezed in amid a hectic 50-date touring schedule, the project was recorded in five days at an analog emporium of a studio in Spain, where the pair indulged in the opportunity to play with a trove of vintage equipment.

Not that they required instrumental antiquities to sound authentic; the duo's passion for all things old-time (be it country, blues or rockabilly) saw them through the production of debut You Can't Buy A Gun When You're Crying with style, and Dirt Don't Hurt is no different. The banjo driven opener, Bottom Below, boasts the gorgeous vocal harmony that is undeniably the backbone of the album: whether gravelly and gruff on Burn Your Fun or celebratory on the single My 45, which is a call and response tale of love and hate in the vein of the Carter-Cash classic, Jackson.

Throughout the record the spirit of the American south is evoked, with the ethereal chorus of Boats Up The River bringing to mind the scenery of Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? And it is these slower songs that make the biggest impact; Three Times Under creates unease in its disjointed waltz, and Slow Road is purely ominous.

The Lawyer has commented that the extra day's production (You Can't Buy A Gun When You're Crying was made in just four) may give the album a feel of over-production, but this is only really evident on the single Getting High For Jesus, which is just a little too tight, and betrays its modernity in its perfection. But overall this is an album rich in character and full of nostalgic spirit.

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