Black Boots on Red Dirt is the first track to be lifted from the forthcoming – and important to note, crowdfunded second album from Black Vines, The Return of the Splendid Bastards. This first track is short and instant. There is an drummed intro that sound likes its running head-on into a psychobilly stomper, but it doesn’t. It’s the Black Vines we all know and love. To younger listeners, you might hear alt-rock elements of various Josh Homme projects such as QOTSA or his Desert Session collaborations. To the older Alt Rock fan, definite hints of bands like early Therapy? or even Tad are probably more evident; bands that like Black Vines, are seeping in 70s metal and punk influences. You get the usual blues soddened vocals here too and a tremendous showcase for Hutch on bass in the middle section.

Aside from the usual gargantuan riffs, the guitars take a bit of a back seat for most of the song and let the drums and bass carry the whole thing along. With very little in the way of a guitar solos until the last bars of the song, and when they hit, the wah-wah is being strangled to within an inch of its life, and it comes off sound like something from Pearl Jam’s Why Go. Good stuff!

The artwork for the single is adorned with black and red bold imagery of black military boots, a smoking factory and the socialist raised fist with the year 1917 emblazoned, the year the icon was first used by the Industrial Workers of the World organisation. The imagery reminds me of that used by Factory Records and specifically Mute Records Depeche Mode releases from the mid-80s. Lyrically you have a song about somebody trying to have a serious conversation about the Russian Revolution with an armchair revolutionary.

Given the broard range of influences the band has, I’d love to hear some of that soul and trip-hop influence seep into the album, in a similar way that Greg Dulli has with Afghan Whigs or The Gutter Twins. So far though, Black Boots is a great way to kick things off.

Black Boots on Red Dirt is released here on 21st February, with the album The Return of the Splendid Bastards following in March.
Black Vines support Servers at The Polish Club on Sat 22nd Feb.
They launch their album with a special show at The Cedar Rooms, Barnsley on 21st March.


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