Easy-going vibes are at the forefront of everything that this band does and on Cabin By The Sea, they keep things laid-back with ocean sounds mixed in with the music. Southern California’s The Dirty Heads expertly fuse reggae, surf rock, and hip-hop on this 16-track disc. “Arrival,” the first listing, is a gentle acoustic song over the soundscape of a morning at the beach. Breathy male and female vocals carry over the cries of seagulls and the ocean’s waves. The title-track describes a relaxed booze and joint-fueled party on the beach. This sounds more like an account of a typical Saturday night for this group of guys rather than a song.
“Disguise” is a rap track that opens up with an instrumental island style intro as does “Your Love,” which has Ky-Mani Marley’s guest reggae vocals. The fourth tune, “Spread Too Thin” is a surf pop anthem that sticks in your head. Cabin By The Sea bounces back and forth between rock and reggae, keeping the listeners attentive. “Dance All Night,” featuring Matisyahu, is a genuinely cool song and with synths in the background, it is the perfect party song. Although the particular style that The Dirty Heads are known for can get a bit tiring after all 16 tracks, the material is done very well.
“Notice” is The Dirty Heads’ attempt at a love song while “Farewell” closes out the album just the way it opened—with the sounds of shore captured onto CD. This band does a fine job of making the genres of reggae, hip-hop, and a little bit of rock their own. What makes their music unexpected is how it is different from the contemporaries within that genre.