"Dirt Church" (Red Cab Records; 2017)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Canadian rockers Groupoem have a strange story behind them, something to do with a re-union after 25 years and the subsequent creation and release of "Dirt Church." I've read several articles online about the band getting back together but I'm still a little confused over what actually went down. Of course, none of that really matters because, when you reunite after 25 years and create an album as great as "Dirt Church," you're doing something right.

"Dirt Church" is an amazing collection of 18 tracks that are as raw and edgy as you could possibly hope. Each track is highlighted by the blistering, raunchy, soul-spilling guitar of Terry Robinson (who also wrote all of the songs, with some lyrical assistance by Marph aka Mr. Science). Robinson's guitar tone, both in the rhythm and leads, sticks directly and instantly into the sulci and gyri of your brain and the moment the music comes to an end,  you want more.

Robinson is also responsible for much of the lyrics here and they are the stuff of poetry. They, too, are raw, honest and starkly brilliant, bringing to mind the work of beat generation poets and modern masters. Lead vocalist Marph "Mr. Science" is the perfect fit to this lyrical style. He delivers each song with a spoken word tilt, sounding much like Johnny Cash if Cash had grown up with the Sex Pistols instead of Jimmie Rogers and Gene Autry.

There are those who will not warm to Groupoem's unique, bare-bones style or the band's singular punk rock poetry style. But I found it to be absolutely fascinating listening, and the kind of rough-edged music that invites multiple listens, not only to further explore the songs' intense lyrics, but to re-visit the memerizing guitars, the straight-forward vocals and each track's complete musical delivery.

Groupoem: Terry Robinson - guitar/lyrics; Marph aka "Mr. Science" - vocals/lyrics; Christopher "Flea" Lee - drums; Darren Katamay - bass guitar; Justin Benz - bass guitar on "Slim Fast" and "Two Bulls."

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2018 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.