The Dirt Tracks @ Monto Water Rats 25/07/13

4 stars (out of 5)

2

Santiago Coma 25/07/13.

Santiago Coma 25/07/13.

So, a Spanish indie band playing at a small but well-established venue five minutes from Kings Cross station; sounds good to me.  The venue was Monto Water Rats and the band was The Dirt Tracks, making their second appearance there in four days to promote their current single, “Kaleidoscope” and their upcoming debut album.  The line-up is Santiago Coma (guitar and vocals), Rafael Vicente (guitar and backing vocals), Carlos Ortigosa (samplers and backing vocals), Miguel Alvarez (bass and backing vocals) and Guillem Masid (drums and percussion) and if I had to define their musical style, I would probably call it psychedelic indie.

The band opened their set with the first song from the debut album, “All Paths Cross”, which gradually builds through an extended intro of sampled synth washes to a main section which hints at some Pink Floyd influences before segueing straight in to the second song “Pulse” with its sampled beats and big, dirty guitars.  “Bit-Train” took the pace down a few notches with a slow-riffing  guitar intro leading into a main section dominated by the two guitars.  The middle section of the set featured two singles “The Madding Crowd” and “Kaleidoscope”, which are both melodic and showcase the band’s vocal harmonies and, in particular, the backing vocals of Carlos Ortigosa.

The set started to build to a climax with the heavy metal guitar riff of “Lady Low”, the jangly, catchy pop of “Never Been to Mars” and the final song “Bloop” with its emphasis on the guitars and vocal harmonies again and a closing section with entire band playing percussion to bring the set to a close; and that was it.  In just under forty-five minutes, The Dirt Tracks played a set which gave us well-written songs, great playing and arrangements (particularly the harmonies) and a huge dynamic range from the quiet and subtle opening of the set to the heavy guitar riffs of “Lady Low” and “Never Been to Mars”.

Despite a disappointingly small audience (possibly because of the good weather) the Dirt Tracks played their short opening set of eight songs as if their lives depended on it.  Santiago Coma is a hugely charismatic frontman with a superb voice who is also crucial in the band’s guitar strike force with Rafael Vicente; sometimes it’s obviously rhythm and lead guitar, but more often it’s intertwining guitar parts which meld into something truly creative when they combine with the sampled sounds.  The band can do the quiet and introspective material and then blast straight in to megariff mayhem with complete confidence; they are a very accomplished and exciting live act and there are plenty of good melodic songs to get them some radio play.  This is a band which has all the pieces in place and only needs the breakthrough now; a bit of airplay or festival set with a big audience is all the momentum they need to send them on their way.

Keep an eye on MusicRiot for future UK tour dates and an exclusive review of the debut album in the next few weeks.