The Dunhill Blues : The Hard Truth
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The Dunhill Blues : The Hard Truth

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In the wake of plain packaging laws introduced recently, some enterprising cigarette companies – with the assistance of a motley band of lawyers, libertarian quasi-academics and PR flacks – claimed the laws deprived the ability of the honest cigarette corporation to exploit the corporation’s trademark.

In the wake of plain packaging laws introduced recently, some enterprising cigarette companies – with the assistance of a motley band of lawyers, libertarian quasi-academics and PR flacks – claimed the laws deprived the ability of the honest cigarette corporation to exploit the corporation’s trademark. According to the thesis, the laws provided the foundation for a zillion-dollar lawsuit against the government.

Strangely – or maybe not so strangely, given the perennial apocryphal game of bluff played by the cigarette companies – no such lawsuit has yet appeared, notwithstanding the forthcoming disappearance of iconic cigarette brand images, including the too-classy-by-far Dunhill brand. And Sydney’s Dunhill Blues haven’t taken any sort of a hint either.

The Dunhill Blues’ shtick is rock’n’roll, with a dash of soul and r’n’b thrown in the mix, like a jolt of tabasco spicing up a bloody mary. The band’s 16 track, 33 minute second release, The Hard Truth is fast, and to the point; from the opening slick instrumental lick-fest, to the MC5-meets-the-Blue Brothers-in-Cuba hip-shakin’ excitement of 5 Nights In Havana, Stones-in-Surrey Hills balls-and-blues of Band/Kids/Girl and the psychedelic Stooges anti-hipster ranting of I Hate Your Favourite Band.

Tall Jan comes out swinging in the face of rock chick-referencing classic hits and lands more blows than a young Cassius Clay, Back On The Rock ’N’ Roll invokes the Southern rock amphetamine spirit of Jerry Lee Lewis and The Zombie Shuffle heads down the back roads with a jalopy full of rednecks, a bottle of moonshine and a couple of sawn-off shotguns. The pathetic self-pity of Little Me is drowned out by Dan Batchelor’s emphatic vocals and a crunching melodic riff, Like You’ve Never Gotten Drunken And Done Something Stupid bubbles over with Stax and Stax of soul, 4 Ltr Wine Cask is alcoholic love in its cheap and nasty cardboard packaging and A Regular Guy is fucked-up country in all its narrative glory.

As distinctive cigarette packaging continues its journey on the long and winding road to historical anachronism, The Dunhill Blues are keeping the flame of rock ’n’ roll burning. Plain packaging laws don’t have a chance of stopping these guys – that’s the hard truth.


Out Now on Off The Hip

BY DOUG WALTERS