The Dirty Heads have clearly avoided the sophomore slump with their latest album, Cabin by the Sea, and better yet, I would argue they have even exceeded the high expectations surrounding the record prior to its release. While the band’s debut in 2008 was quite impressive, it’s evident The Dirty Heads have refined their sound and are now even closer to perfecting their unique blend of music. Once again, Watson and Bushnell compliment each other nicely on vocals and to no surprise, there are a variety of guest musicians featured on the album as well. Cabin by the Sea is a strong album from start to finish and only further proves why there is no one better than The Dirty Heads at creating music with infectious good vibes.
Despite the fact that the album may not offer as many tracks as its predecessor, the quality of the record more than makes up for it. The album begins with the brief but enjoyable “Arrival,” and then transitions into the title track which may very well be recognized by many listeners as the best song on the album. Still, the clear highlight of the record is the four collaboration tracks, each standing apart from the next. “Your Love,” a laid back and light-hearted love song, was done with Kymani Marley, son of the reggae legend Bob Marley. For “Mongo Push,” the group again collaborated with Rome Ramirez; while it’s unlikely the song will achieve the same type of success as “Lay Me Down,” it still makes for a solid track laid over a funk beat with killer vocals delivered by Rome. “Dance All Night” has heavy reggae influences and includes the addition of the band’s close friend, Mastisyahu. And finally, “Smoke Rings,” featuring Del the Homosapien, shows the group connecting with their hip-hop roots. The majority of the songs on the new release are predominantly acoustic driven with a touch of reggae flavor, which certainly works within the flow of the album. Songs such as “Notice,” “Burn by Myself,” and “Best of Us” are the epitome of this and the latter being one of the top songs on the record.
This is the ultimate feel good album; the songs are easy going, the lyrical content is uplifting, and literally every track would be ideal for a summer playlist. With this new release, The Dirty Heads are truly starting to come into their own. This is not another So-Cal band imitating Sublime desperately trying to re-create the magic of Bradley Nowell; these guys are talented and have worked hard to utilize all of their musical influences (which do in fact include Sublime) in order to develop a style and sound that is unique. Cabin by the Sea is a record that will not only appeal to fans of the group, but could very easily find a mainstream audience as well. This record was undoubtedly an important statement for the band coming off of the success of their debut effort and furthermore, it is my guess that this is the album that launches The Dirty Heads into stardom.