After a successful foray into the cinematic western-tinged music of 2019’s Super Moon, Dirty Heads fall back into more comfortable oceanside sounds on the predictable, but occasionally enjoyable, Midnight Control. Epitomizing the beach rock genre, the album flits around the outskirts of pop-rock, rap, and reggae, never fully committing to any one particular discipline, or offering new musical ideas.
“Island Glow” and “Heavy Water” suffer from an unconvincing mix of reggae and rap that sounds more contrived than inspired, and the lackluster cover of Joe Walsh’s “Life’s Been Good” completely misses the decadent-rockstar mark—even the lyrics are watered down. Apparently Dirty Heads’ “black impala goes 85.” Joe’s Mazerati did 185.
The set recovers from a weak opening trio by veering back towards the groove-heavy reggae side of their sound with “Make Me,” “Midnight Control,” and the carefree closer “Live Your Life.” A great track with hit potential, “El Dorado,” manages to pull off the desired mix of styles and mood that one would assume the band aspires to. Not overly serious, and just catchy enough to maintain interest, the second half of Midnight Control serves as perfect warm weather feel-good music, but overall the effort could use a couple more winners and far less filler.