M.U.T.T., Dirty Deeds (Quiet Panic, 2024)

Rock 'n' roll can make for good medicine, and after the distressing breakup of his former band, John Jr. needed music more than ever.

Eschewing the more laid-back pop tendencies of his former band Culture Abuse, he founded the much more abrasive punk outfit M.U.T.T. and enlisted former bandmates Matt Walker, Isa Anderson, and Shane Pitt to help bring the vision to life. 

Their debut full-length, 2022’s Bad to the Bone, revealed a higher-energy approach to their music, and urgency that marked a contrast to the past.

Their latest release, Dirty Deeds, out later this month courtesy of Quiet Panic, sees the group double down on their assault, their rocked-out approach shot through with generous helpings of punk and even hardcore. 

Opener “Damaged” sets the stage well. The sound is a perfect concoction of punk and rock, like Appetite-era Guns N' Roses trying to channel the Circle Jerks. The lead guitar is prominent, almost on equal footing with the vocals. Is that Slash or Johnny Thunders?

“SF is Killing Me” possesses a more melodic approach but the intensity doesn’t waver, there’s a desperation in the vocals that really does sound like a fight for survival. “Downtown Boy” does ease back a bit, sounding a bit like a punk take on Thin Lizzy. The tune has a vocal hook that’s hard to shake. 

“Breaking the Law” kickass the tempo back up but the vocal hooks remain intact. Once again, the lead guitar leads the way, often doubling the vocal line. They wrap things up with the title track, “Dirty Deeds”. The opening riff is pure fist-pumping rock glory while the verse is a bit more punk, but they pair together perfectly.

At over six minutes long, they take the time to lead the listeners through a more complex song structure yet it never feels long-winded. A psychedelic guitar break adds a new element to their repertoire and the head-nodding instrumental section that closes the song allows one to just revel in the riff. 

I wonder if their song titles nod to their influences. Judas Priest (“Breaking the Law”) might be hard to suss out, but Black Flag (“Damaged”) and AC/DC (“Dirty Deeds”) feel spot on.

This is rock 'n' roll that doesn’t make you surrender your punk cred at the door, and reminds how they are often best when they are one in the same.

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