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Dirty on Purpose - Hallelujah Sirens

Released on North Street Records, 6/27/06

Dirty on Purpose is the hottest thing to come out of Brooklyn since, well, since just about every other hot thing that has spread from Williamsburg across the rest of the culturally parched country like a wild brush fire. Hallelujah Sirens is the band's full length follow-up to their impressive EP, Sleep Late for a Better Tomorrow (North Street), the release of which last fall triggered a barrage of comparisons to fellow multi-instrumentalist dream poppers Yo La Tengo.

Hallelujah Sirens certainly doesn't shy away from syrupy sweet, perfectly matched vocal harmonies, nor has either Yo La Tengo or Dirty on Purpose ever written a pop hook whose bass line couldn't pull even the most callous of connoisseurs. The comparison seems less adequate, however, when one minute Hallelujah Sirens rocks out with a slightly cleaner, more discernible version of My Bloody Valentine's hypnotic distortion, and then abruptly falls off to just a few notes and the sound of water dripping, only to explode again into a compelling soundscape of reverb and heartfelt lyrics.

Though Dirty on Purpose has sing-song dream pop melodies down pat, the lyrics accompanying these jangly Jeep-Wrangler-along-Highway-1 anthems are hopeful laments to personal tragedy and love gone wrong. Lyrically, "Your Summer Dress" is a shade darker than the catchy, upbeat instrumentation leads on, especially when vocalist Doug Marvin's falsetto soothes with variations of the refrain: "It's raining out, the sky is dark, all your friends left town. Someday soon I promise it'll turn around."

While Hallelujah Sirens' pop sensibility evokes the cerebral sensitivity of Belle & Sebastian and Camera Obscura, it is also proof that Dirty on Purpose -- like fellow Brooklyn atmosphere rockers Asobi Seksu -- can and does rock, so much so that you'll be surprised to find that you're still humming their dreamy guitar squall long after the dust settles.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Dirty on Purpose with Irving, Say Hi To Your Mom, and Tartufi.
Bottom of the Hill
7/28, 9pm
$10