Sound: If you're familiar with all of Bobaflex's past work then it's more likely than not that you're already a fan of them. Their unknown status is very unfortunate considering the breaks they've gotten (they toured on Dave Mustaine's 'Gigantour' in 2005) but with some fantastic promotion from TVT Records their name is beginning to get known and this new album is their chance to really leave an impact on people. Their last album, 'Apologize For Nothing' was, frankly, pretty terrible but it seems that the band have realised that they need to get their act together and concentrate the potential from their past material and piece it together into a full coherent album. It seems they've managed it.
From the very beginning of opener 'Sellout' you can tell that these guys from West Virginia aren't mucking about anymore. The album is filled with pumped up riffs and engaging vocal melodies much like their other albums but this time there isn't any irritating nu metal bouncing or Fred Durst vocal nonsense. It's just a straightforward slab of hard rock with layered vocal work and that tried and tested rock guitar style. I'm glad that they decided to take this direction because continuing with the outdated and plain old annoying spazz-metal style just wasn't gonna work out for them. Sure, it's not the most original sound in the world but their vocal department at least had got something fresh happening. All five members of Bobaflex contribute vocals (though the two McCoy brothers normally share lead vocals), so there's always a different texture for each situation. If one of them has a better harsher voice to go over a big riff, then they'll do it. If someone's come up with a nice melody for a softer verse then they're free to perform it themselves if they want. Almost all of the vocal lines will be backed up or dubbed several times, giving a nice solid feel to the performance, though a little emotion behind it is lost in the process.
Aside from vocals there is really nothing new on 'Tales From Dirt Town' but that doesn't stop it from being a fun listen with a lot of well written tunes. From the unrelenting 'Need A Drink' to the addictively melodic and relaxed 'I Still Believe', this CD is a safe purchase for any rock fan. // 8
Lyrics: The band's label has promoted them as a 'from the roots' small-town band who have worked hard to get to where they are. While this is true, their lyrics seem to be overdoing that theme a little. While I'm sure they have struggled a lot, almost all of the album's lyrics seem to be about sadness and struggle, which just seems to me like they're trying a bit too hard. Of course it's a massive improvement on the totally random nonsense of 'Apologize For Nothing's lyrics, as these lyrics actually make sense and have a context. They're really just average lyrics on overused topics, but there are certainly some lines that impress when they're put along to music, particularly in 'Home' where the heartfelt delivery brings the story of Bobaflex's touring to life. // 6
Overall Impression: I'm glad that Bobaflex have made this album because this will get their name out there and may end their struggle which they seem to endlessly talk about. If they can continue making albums of this quality they will get somewhere in the music community and if they improve at this rate for a while they could churn out some truly classic albums. Whether or not that's going to happen nobody can guess but I certainly hope they continue to grow. Regardless of the future 'Tales From Dirt Town' is a fun listen and certainly worth your attention, especially if you've already judged Bobaflex on their last material. You may be pleasantly surprised by the quality and musical sensibility they've found this time. // 8