Oh man, 2011 is gonna be poppin'. Or not. Maybe I'm just happy those releases already out of the gate or in the near future are sounding so damn good compared to the somewhat lackluster end of 2010 (barring some awesome drone tapes). So here we are, at the start of a new year with an old band. Those garage rock chameleons The Dirtbombs are back with another genre cohesive offering, and it's not the bubblegum pop album they've been promising for so long. No, rather than delving into innocuous and mindlessly catchy pop territory (or catchy 60s territory, as they are wont to do) the band has decided to do the polar opposite. Now we have Party Store, a collection of obscure Detroit techno from a time when The Gories were still together presented in a form that places the band closer to Krautrock luminaries like Guru Guru and Tangerine Dream than to !!!.

It's almost too easy to compare some tracks to the sparse repetition of LCD Soundsystem, especially given the way that the Dirtbombs manage to enliven all their songs. That kind of comparison is the overall ethos of this album, but rather than focusing on the nature of those types of songs, the motivation here is the same as before; loving homage and reinterpretation. As a result, the band has never sounded more solid or precise; deftly carving paths out of the dense terrain of programmed drums and synths is no easy task. The few occasions where digital percussion is used (mainly handclaps to evoke those 808 and 909 dreams) show the ability of the rest of the band as a singular unit moving in time with one another to keep up the basic but delicate rhythmic interplay that marks most of these songs. Take 'Shari Vari,' a German style cover of a song once known as 'Sharevare', it's a hauntingly cold backing over which Mick Collins lets his inner Dieter come out to great effect. The lack of real change is what makes this single song stand out, what makes most of these songs stand out in a discography of stylized cover albums. When Collins does pull out his classic howl for 'Good Life' it's a powerfully incessant jam for steely guitars to cut through while maintaining the feel-good atmosphere that the title evokes. It's a good sign when even the 21’22” 'Bug In The Bassbin' manages to hold my attention in its unyielding grip through each modular synth blurt and fart.

Pardon my brevity here, but after listening to the solid hour of music here for about a month I just cannot conjure up the proper description for this album as I could with, say, Ultraglide In Black or We Have You Surrounded. It's not a testament to the album in any negative light, but rather an indication (to me) of how the band has managed to once again reinvent their entire sound. This time is far less garage rock than previous instalments, but is even more captivating and intense than previous efforts (Ultraglide excluded, seriously, it's their best still). While at times the mantra of 'Tear The Club Up' ("Tear the club up/tear the fucking club up") seems cloying and tongue in cheek, nothing here is short of a serious jam. Even Giorgio Moroder would be pleased with this.

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