DMITRY WILD – Rock N Roll Is My Business / Son Of A Gun

Dmitry Wild’s 2022 long player ‘New York Stories’ was a record brimming with good tunes. The multi-talented musician filled its metaphorical grooves with a variety of sounds ranging from Strokes inspired garage rock (‘Summer of ’21’, ‘Sweetest Thing’), echoey semi-acoustic rock that sounded like ‘Space Oddity’ era Bowie fused with Tindersticks (‘Wizard’), moody singer songwriter fare with a gentle Nick Cave-ish undercurrent (‘God, Ghost and A Ship’), and even arty rock meeting with a slacker vibe (‘21st Century’). It showed a man capable of turning his hand various styles with relative ease.

Wild isn’t necessarily the greatest singer in the world, but there’s something about his natural slur and huge confidence that makes his material work more often than not, and ‘Rock N Roll Is My Business’ is no exception. It’s actually a track that’s far superior to anything from his previous album. Right from the opening bars, his take on an old rock ‘n’ roll/melodic rockabilly sound is almost perfect. Armed with intermittent guitar chords drenched in reverb, Wild offers a semi-jagged riff, and between the spaces, a moody baritone sax worthy of Morphine’s Dana Colley adds plenty of extra interest. As the number gains momentum, a distorted voice works brilliantly against a rigid groove, and the increased presence of sax filling the chorus gives the number plenty of sass. By the mid point, the assembled band hit upon a tight groove, and Wild drops into a tango, suggesting a love of Tom Waits, before returning to the original riff to underscore a perfectly executed lead guitar break. At the point where you think the main hook – at this point being delivered incessantly, and with intent – is the perfect climax, Wild wrong-foots everyone and introduces a slice of speed driven punk ‘n’ roll to hammer his simple hook home one last time. In and out in a little over three minutes, it’s a near perfect retro rocker.

It’s been paired with the equally good, ‘Son of A Gun’. On this de facto “b side”, Dmitry applies the same reverb to his guitar, but plays in a more sedate manner. The opening chords are very atmospheric – almost as if he were creating a soundtrack, Barry Adamson style, for a neo-noir movie. As it gains momentum with the help of a spookily applied organ and dour vocal, the melodies twist into something closer to a more melodic Cramps, and then – finally – with the arrival of the drums and sax, the track sounds like a darker cousin to the “a side”, with an array of great sax work, and a heavily twanged guitar adding an edginess atop a fat bass. There are times where it feels more like a mood piece where Wild’s vocals are the least important feature, but it shows off the band brilliantly.

These two tracks run rings around about half of the performer’s previous recordings. They’re a superb example of a 50s infused indie/rock style: a dark cousin to Morphine, even a very vague melodic relation to Grinderman, but always recognisable as something from the world of Dmitry Wild.

November 2023