Dirty Heads have been known for their 10 plus-year career as a band who is not afraid to push boundaries within their music, never being defined by genre. Every album they have put out has a distinctly different sound. The new album, Super Moon, is the culmination of all of their previous albums, with some new sounds altogether, paired with the talent and experience of being seasoned musicians.
Unlike Dirty Heads’ last two albums, Sound of Change and Swim Team, where the band teamed up with several pop chart-topping producers and collaborators, Super Moon was curated by Dirty Heads and Dave Cobb alone. Dave has produced the likes of Chris Stapleton, Jamey Johnson, Shooter Jennings and other top country artists. As a six-time GRAMMY-award winning country music producer from Nashville, I was super curious as to how the new album would be put together.
The album sounds as if it was written for a 1970s action spy movie.
After listening to the album about 10 times, the best way I can describe it — on the whole — is a complete journey. Super Moon is as if it was created, from start to finish, as a high production movie soundtrack, with a story fueling every song — similar to the work of Phil Collins and other artists who have composed entire albums around film. The album sounds as if it was written for a 1970s action spy movie.
Super Moon opens with the album’s title track, which is like an intergalactic space saga intersecting with classic 007 James Bond. This particular track, more so than any other on the album, is completely unique to anything they have put out yet. The song features heavy mariachi-style horns and a western cowboy sound. Jared Watson’s vocals feature reverb and delay to give an authentic vintage sound.
The next track, already making major waves as a single released ahead of the album, is “Lift Me Up”: an ode to the days when Dirty Heads members sold cannabis on the street before California’s legalization. This feel-good tune features a positive rootsy vibe, blended with a ‘golden oldies’ sound and light harmonies. The album’s next track “Tender Boy” features catchy piano melodies, jazzy horns and a laidback, almost dark, yet thoughtful vibe. The theme of this song is to keep our heads up, despite the world seemingly falling apart around us. It reminds fans to stay positive in a hard situation; that your efforts are not in vain.
“Horsefly” is the longest track on the album and, in my opinion, the most likely to receive major radio play. This track, similar to “Tender Boy”, carries a positive message of believing in oneself and recognizing that there is no one like you. You are special. It is also a testament to the band’s own hard work and how believing in themselves, despite setbacks, will prove successful.
“Cloudlifter” sounds like what Hunter S. Thompson would be listening to mid-trip in downtown Las Vegas.
“Fear & Love”, in this reporter’s opinion, is lyrically the strongest song on the album. It is reminiscent of their previous album, Cabin By The Sea, in the sense that is has a beachy island vibe and is a song you would sing with your friends. The song’s message is to not allow fear to get ahold of you and that everything in this world comes down to simply fear and love. You are either motivated by one or the other and to overcomplicate that will only bring you strife. After listening to this song, a good reflective question you may ask yourself is, “Am I moving and operating from a place of love or a place of fear?”
“Cloudlifter” sounds like what Hunter S. Thompson would be listening to mid-trip in downtown Las Vegas. It has an ethereal sound, yet hard-hitting rap breakdowns. It sounds heavily influenced by 1970s psychedelic rock; Jim Morrison himself would be proud.
“Come Back Around” is a song that, lyrically, we all can relate to — love and/or the absence of it. It is a genuinely beautiful song about not knowing how to live without the person you love. The band mentions how being with that special person brings us the most comfort and appreciation. It is almost a public declaration of their own love and how that love keeps them balanced. The track has a pop sound and will most likely be featured on major radio circuits.
Jared Watson recently had a beautiful baby girl with his wife and editorial fashion model, Kate Watson. “Lighthouse” is a song the Jared wrote for his daughter and is the only vocal featured on this track, as Duddy B and the rest of the band lays down acoustic, easy-listening support. He compares fatherhood to a “lighthouse”: his strength for her is the calm within the storm and his commitment shines a light for her in the dark. He says, “Captivate me in your mother’s arms // Hands are waiting // When you call”, professing his captivation, dedication and support to her forever. It is such a sweet loving track for the little ones in our lives, whom we vow to guide and protect.
All in all, Super Moon is an impressive piece of work from Dirty Heads and producer Dave Cobb.
“Crow Bar Hotel” is personally one of my favorite tracks on this album, with a campfire, country, bluegrass, bayou, beach sound. I know that was a mouthful, but I swear, when you guys hear it, you’ll know exactly what I mean. It has a Caribbean vibe, paired with southern gospel harmonies. “Crow Bar Hotel” is truly hard to put into words, but this song is, in a word, happy. It sounds like it would be the perfect song for a movie montage. It feels so light and breezy, which is definitely a song you will want to put on repeat.
“Slow Down” is the perfect close to the album. It features 1970s-sounding jazz flutes, easy guitar chords, soft drums and an overall smooth demeanor. The song features lyrics like, “You got this // First you dream it, then you speak it // Cross it off” and “Don’t ever give up on you // Just fly on”. “Slow Down” boasts a positive message on how we should all believe in ourselves and that unique traits and talents are what makes people do all that you think you cannot. We have more power when it comes to shaping our destiny than we might think.
All in all, Super Moon is an impressive piece of work from Dirty Heads and producer Dave Cobb. The album has a song for everyone and I believe out of all of their albums they have put out, this one has the greatest appeal to the musical community at large. The album opens Dirty Heads up to playing with various genres, expanding their fanbase even more. Super Moon has no external collaborations, standing as a true testament to the hard work, talent and dedication Dirty Heads have to their music, to their families, to their fans and, most importantly, to themselves. The album drops officially on August 9th, but luckily the album is available for pre-order now! Check out the two singles, “Super Moon” and “Lift Me Up”, on digital outlets now or catch the boys live on tour with 311 and The Interrupters for the next month at various cities.
Pre-order or save Dirty Heads’ Super Moon album:
- Super Moon
- Lift Me Up
- Tender Boy
- Fear & Love
- Come Back Around
- Crow Bar Hotel
- Slow Down
Dirty Heads “Lift Me Up” official music video:
Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Music.