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Brooklyn's Dirty on Purpose derive and thrive


Robotrippin': Dirty on Purpose
  • Robotrippin': Dirty on Purpose

Dirty on Purpose are nothing you haven't heard before -- at least in terms of discrete sonic elements. The Brooklyn band kinda sounds like every indie kid's old favorites.

Depending who you ask, that's Belle & Sebastian, Jesus and Mary Chain, Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo, Sigur Ros, Spinto Band ... you get the picture. Depending who you ask, that's a very good thing.

Since Hallelujah Sirens came out in mid-2006 on the tiny North Street Records, the up-and-coming quartet has wooed tastemakers with moody dance beats, reverberating guitars and high-pitched, languorous vocals.

If I were to make a comparison, I'd say Dirty on Purpose sounds most like U2 on Robitussin (I'm sure it's happened before). "Mind Blindness" gleefully cops that one guitar idea The Edge has been faithfully trotting out for years; "Your Summer Dress" cops his other guitar idea. And for "Light Pollution," the band goes for broke with a "With or Without You" bass line. (Hey, if you're gonna steal, steal from the commercially viable.)

But it's not all gloom and shimmer, either. On hipshakers like "No Radio," horns and keening vocal harmonies abound, occasionally interrupted with a seismic blast of Thurston Moore guitar. Dirty on Purpose don't seem too worried about branding their own distinct sound, but by bringing together all the good bits of everyone else's, they've stumbled on a catchy and affecting pulse that's hard to deny.

Dirty on Purpose, with The Brother Kite, Bullet Parade and Shade. 9:30 p.m. Fri., Jan 12 (doors open at 8:30 p.m.). Brillobox, 4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. $7. 412-621-4900

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