Friday 17 May 2013

The Unclean - The Eagle (Album Review)

Album Type :  Full Length
Date Released: 19/2/2013
Label: Self Released
The Eagle, album track listing:
1. On We Go
2. Live For The Day
3. Million Dollar Jezabel
4. Away Too Long
5. Not So Bad
6. Strange Kind Of Living
7. Been Gone
8. Nothing Left To Say
9. The End


Ohio-based trio THE UNCLEAN has this month self-released their sophomore full-length album, in the process unleashing some of the most classic but contemporary, polluted but pristine rock n’ roll the underground has to offer.

Known for trolling Akron’s dive-bars and tattoo shops, the members of THE UNCLEAN collective pulled their resources together in 2007. Hailing from predominantly sludge/doom-scene acts including Rue, Fistula, Sofa King Killer, with this act the members crank out solid, no-frills, riff-heavy, blues-based rock anthems. With influences and comparisons tracing to classic acts like ZZ Top, Humble Pie, Thin Lizzy, Motörhead, the band self-released their debut album No Excuse Necessary in the Fall of 2008, and have since honed their soulful tunes even further on-stage regionally alongside other hard-working local and touring acts.

At the end of 2012 the trio shacked-up in the studio to lay down the thunder that would culminate into their second full-length. The drums were recorded at Studio Time in Akron, Ohio (former Black Keys studio) by Jason Tarulli (current mastermind behind Black Keys live sound), and the rest of the album written, recorded, mixed, mastered and produced by the band in their own Unclean Studio. Now completed and available to the public once again in totally D.I.Y. fashion, THE UNCLEAN proudly offer their most honest and lively material yet with The Eagle. Boasting nearly forty minutes of ballsy, bluesy, beer-swilling anthems about good times and bad, guitarist/vocalist Bremmy (ex-Sofa King Killer, Honkeytonk Damnation), bassist Burns (ex-Rue, Nailblack, Fistula, Sofa King Killer), and drummer Frank The Tank (ex- Search Block) play it straight from hip, loud and in your face.

After releasing The Eagle this month digitally via all the usual online suspects (iTunes, Spotify, EMusic, Google Play and more), THE UNCLEAN will drop a CD version in the coming months alongside regional shows and sporadic touring in support of the record. Stay tuned for further info in the coming weeks

Line Up:
Bremmy – Guitars/Vocals
Burns – Bass
Frank - Drums


When you see a member of the opposite sex smile at you from across the room, and all you can think of is the myriad ways your ex- screwed you over:  that’s the blues.    When you have to make a choice between a place to sleep and filling your belly: that’s the blues.  See, the blues ain’t nothing but imagining the future, thinking about how things will be based on past experience.  And so we get to The Unclean, not the bluesiest of outfits, but maybe playing some stoner rock inflected blues.  I want to call it greasy moustache rock.  But, these guys don’t have the blues, they just play it, or some newfangled version of it.  Greasy moustache rock.  Yeah, that’ll do for a label.  Greasy moustache blues is all about the present tense, too dirty to worry about the future, too high to care much about the past.  I guess that’s what happens when you swap out substances, the whiskey and moonshine swapped out for some smoke.  When that happens, images of the future evaporate to be replaced by an urgent need to experience the now to its fullest.

This is the spirit with which ‘The Eagle’ spreads its wings on opening track, “On We Go”.  Never dwelling on the past nor looking very far into the future, The Unclean stay dishevelled in the living moment, realizing they could always wipe the grease off their moustaches later, whatever’s coming hasn’t hurt them yet.  They could always worry about tomorrow, later, later, later.  And of course, later never comes.   “Live for the Day”, a mean thumper, expresses this sentiment explicitly.  The origin of the band’s blues sound becomes evident on “Million Dollar Jezebel”, the best track on the record for my money.  Everybody comes upon hard times, what makes a person who they are is how they deal with them.  The Unclean don’t cry over spilt milk, they wear it, become it, become the result: unclean!  The band’s blues sound doesn’t come from digging ditches in a chain gang and feeling every moment of the misery, it comes from digging trenches against the tide of their troubles with a little help from Deep Purple inspiration on this song and maybe some from Mountain on the next, “Away Too Long”.  Listen to that cowbell and big ass riff.  Yeah, definitely Mountain influenced, they do a great job here of recreating that “Never in My Life” vibe without actually referencing the song musically.

“Not So Bad” continues that seventies flavor with a laid back and bright intro and verse which spills out into the heaviness we all crave.  Most seventies albums that I can think of that weren’t crafted by the hands, hearts and minds of Mr.’s Butler, Iommi, Osbourne and Ward were made up of half hard rockers and half songs like this one, a contemplative number about a hard life and deciding whether or not to go on with it.  Again, an immediate decision must be made, a decision based on past experience with an eye towards the future, but always focused on the moment at hand.  “Strange Kind of Living” continues the theme of contemplating the present which, by this point, is well established as the defining mood of the album. 

“Been Gone” sees the band get back into slow, relatively quiet mode, with a sleek and spare, drum, bass and vocal dominated blues.  You know the kind, booooo-doop, doop-doop, doop-doop, etc.
The Unclean slam the door on their way out on penultimate track “Nothing Left To Say” which leaves a distinctly heavy aftertaste.  It’s probably their rawest heavy performance on the album and closes things out on a high note, giving a giant two finger salute (for our British friends, one finger salute to us Yanks and Canadians) as they walk out the door.  “The End” is a short acoustic / ambient outro and doesn’t quite fit on the album, either in vibe or style but it’s there, tacked onto the end, probably to ease listeners out of their rigid state after receiving the steady thumping this album provides.

So, what we have here is a great barbecue summer soundtrack, bluesy and heavy rock not made for the down and out times, but for warm weather and good vibes … something to put a hard edge on those joyous festivities.

Words by :  Lukas Klaukien

As ever, show your support to the band by checking them out at the various links and buying their merch. This record is available everywhere now. Thanks as always to EarSplit PR for the hook up.