Dirty Kirst - Absence Makes The Music Faster

Dirty Kirst won't necessarily be a familiar name for a lot of people, but they have been going, off and on, since midway through the last decade. This is their second album - and although they don't often tour too far from their native area around the Cambridge area, when they do, they tend to impress those who have a place in their hearts for that 1990s Epi-Fat sound - the pounding double pedal drums, octaved guitars and layer upon layer of 'woahs' behind melodic vocals.

Yes, we all know this isn't the most trendy of genres. Those who did do it long ago rebranded themselves as melodic hardcore to avoid lazy comparisons to early Rise Against. But it is great when bands wear their influences on their sleeves and go on to produce a very fine record, complete with their own take on proceedings; with this record, Dirty Kirst have done so.

It is more upbeat and chirpy than guitarist Karlos's other band Phinius Gage; it's more Pulley than it is Ignite. The 12 tracks on offer are self produced but sound sonically just about perfect; the 8 years the band took to make this are demonstrable. The subject matter is sometimes a little close to home; 4 of us, about a local drunken stand off, and Family, about local solidarity, may sound a bit too much like H2O lyrics, but everything on here does reek of sincerity even if you do occasionally yearn for the more obscure. Opener This Time, about the tribulations of being a band that you know will never pack out gigs, is a belter; Consumed-worship track Hit For Six equally impressive. The whole album flows like a band who can write a melody for fun.

I implore those of you who love the kind of music I've described to give these hard working lads a listen; they deserve your attention if you grew up on the same music they did. This is a fine album.