Stream Dirty Dishes Guilty (Stereogum Premiere)
When we first listen to an album, we’re inclined to crave cohesion. There’s a tendency to look for common threads — recurring lyrical themes, parallel song structures, and a definitive encompassing sound. It’s rarely flattering to label a work “inconsistent,” but sometimes it should be regarded as the highest compliment. Listening to LA-based duo Dirty Dishes’ debut album Guilty is like enduring a waking dream — it’s both a harrowing and totally beautiful experience. Technically, Dirty Dishes could be classified as a shoegaze band, but Guilty is a sort of hybridization of sounds that skirt any identifiable genre conventions. Ignited by the album’s first two singles, “Thank You Come Again” and “Red Roulette,” the early moments of the record establish the band’s unique breed of controlled mania. Both are loud and corrosive, but in no way do they predict what follows. Inaugural songs typically serve as kindling for bigger sound, but the proceeding tracks on Guilty whittle away at that expectation. As the album’s instrumental arrangements minimize, their motifs stand out as more memorable — the delicate plodding of a toy piano, a spastic drum-beat like a barrage of gun-shots. Jenny Tuite’s voice peels lyrics apart at certain points to emphasize particular words before all clarity collapses with a whisper. It’s in our inability to anticipate what comes next that makes Guilty so stirring. You’ve heard “Guilty” and “Red Roulette“; now stream the entire album and watch a video of the band performing “One More Time” below.