Dyrty Byrds are known for their straight-no-chaser southern tinged Rock and Roll, and their new album stays true to form. Zeitgeist is guitar heavy and aggressive, but still maintains a certain southern charm. In addition to being axe men, Eric Martinez (Bloodkin), Tori Pater (Polytoxic), and Sam Holt (Outformation) all shared songwriting duties on the album. Having three guitar players enables them to layer different tones and bring many different flavors into the mix but The Dryty Byrds aren’t all guitar. Holding it down in the rhythm section are Mike “Spanky” McCluer on bass and Andy Clapp on drums. Paul “Dr. Poz” Cohen lends some saxophone on “To Play Is To Win,” and Polytoxic’s Chadzilla, who also engineered and produced the album, contributes to backing vocals and percussion on various songs.
The album opens up with Pater’s patented southern growl on “Stomping Grounds,” and the song introduces you to one of the themes on the record: the challenge to change in the presence of trying times as a nation. “To Play Is To Win” is an ode to real Rock and Roll, and although it speaks of revolution, it is not a political one.
“Southern Angel” is one of the softer tracks on the album, but the grit comes right back with “Home of the Free” and so do the references to change, greed, and our political climate. Martinez’s vocals on the guitar heavy “El Rey” give it a dark and stormy feeling.
The album changes pace and intensity as the styles of the different songwriters shine through and give everyone a chance to be heard. “Gone Fishing” is upbeat and has a more acoustic presence, but gets punctuated by an Allman Brothers like electric tone. It’s a song that paints a picture of slow days in the south, and taking time to get away from it all. “Vampire Poets” is another spooky creation by Martinez, while Holt gives us some 1970s muscle car rock with “Daredevil.” You could slip this song onto the Dazed and Confused soundtrack, and it would fit right in.
Dyrty Byrds can also touch on a lighter side of rock as well, as they did with “Flagpole Sitting,” and they can strip down and go acoustic for tracks like “Words To Live By.” The latter track is probably one of my favorites on the album and it shows me that Dyrty Byrds are just good ol’ southern boys at heart who like to “Trust in Whiskey.” The album closes out on an upbeat note with the extremely danceable and party provoking “Catch the Lights.”