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DIRTY LOOKS “Cool From The Wire” (1988)


DIRTY LOOKS "Cool From The Wire" (1988)

by Dana Brittingham

Cover: 3 Nasty Stares out of 10

Hum? Well, it’s a duotone closeup of the singer’s face. It looks like he put his face on a photocopier and then used it as an album cover! It sort of looks like a demo CD, but the band’s logo is in pink so it gives it some semblance of color. Not too impressive but I’ve seen alot worse.

Booklet: 4 Filthy Glances out of 10

All the lyrics are there and they’re easy to read, but like the front cover, the entire booklet is devoid of color. There’s a black and white photo of the band on the back of the booklet and some general thanks and credits, but it’s quite basic and the layout is underwhelming.

Songs: 6 Grubby Peeps out of 10

All of the tracks have more or less a sleazy cock-rock kind of vibe. Not bad players overall and the songs have a good feel to them. The singer, Henrik Ostergaard, has one of those love-it-or-hate-it voices, which means, either you love it or hate it. His sound is somewhere betwixt Taime Downe and Bon Scott. In fact, one of the tunes (‘Oh Ruby’) features Henrik doing a little rap in which he does a dead-on imitation of the late AC/DC frontman. It is really quite impressive. The rest of the tracks sound less intentionally like AC/DC but they still have that dirty stripped-down sound. No ballads either – a plus in Dirty Looks’ favor. All of the tunes are cool to listen to a few times, but after awhile, Henrik’s voice starts to get on my nerves and I have to shut it off.

Comments: Dirty Looks formed in the mid 80’s and gigged their asses off all around Pennsylvania and the east coast. The lineup more or less centered around Henrik Ostergaard along with a revolving cast of players, including guitarist Paul Lidel who at one point was in Dangerous Toys, and drummer Gene Barnett, who later joined Lillian Axe for a brief stint. Their first EP, "I Want More," was recorded in 1986 followed by a full-length indie album the next year called "In Your Face." It attracted enough attention to Dirty Looks that they were signed to major label, resulting in "Cool From The Wire." While not nearly as impressive as their 1989 follow-up ("Turn Of The Screw"), Wire still got enough of a buzz going for these guys. The band never did become a household name, though they somehow managed to accrue a devout underground fanbase. Dirty Looks was dropped from Atlantic in the early 90’s but still continued to put out albums all the way up through 1996. Henrik also released a few albums with his side project, Rumbledog, but is now laying low somewhere in the East.

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