Dirty Backseat is a Garage / Post-punk band, based in Cairo, Egypt. The trio is made of Moe Hani (Bass, Guitars, Vocals, Keys), Noha Amin (Guitars, Vocals), and Marwan Wahid (Drums). People who listen to this band would probably describe them differently. The reason people may throw different labels at them is that they defy characterization. Dirty Backseat is one of those inexplicable bands that comes out of nowhere to create something magical that flies totally under the radar at least on this side of the Ocean. Their blend of electronica, pop melodies, dance beats, and rock guitars, is something missing from a lot of pop music today. The EP “GooBad” by the Cairo-based collective is the sound of artists who make noises and place them where they don’t normally go – brilliantly.
From opening track, “Ghara’an”, their sound is multifaceted, kaleidoscopic and at times psychedelic. Nevertheless, it’s infused with a cinematic energy that propels it onward and upward. There’s nothing dour about their approach. They impressively harness runaway rhythms and manipulate them to their own ends.
Dirty Backseat is a band in complete control that can luxuriate in the fact they sound like no one else. They’re certainly a rhythmic garage band, but there’s probably also a lyrical depth that may not be immediately apparent, due to the shoegaze-styled reverberating vocals which requires a couple of replays to break through.
“Cassette Tapes” too, has an enigmatic, ethereal quality, a wave of beautiful melody riding an undulating, driving rhythm underneath. It is laden with thwacking bass that blooms into sharp, punchy surf guitars. Like so many modern bands, they’re not to be pinned down geographically, but they do have a subtle French Pop twist.
There’s a constant aura of kooky upbeatness on “Shouf Shouf (Alien Abduction)”. Frantic, glorious and bouncy, it flexes running bass lines and banging drums, while the cyclical guitars spill haphazardly into the airy spaces.
To fully appreciate Dirty Backseat’s singular approach to music, just take a listen to “Etnien”. Here you’ll find the dreamy vocals with all the raw spontaneity of post-punk, and a completely satisfying detour into surf-pop guitar riffing, all underpinned by sinewy keys, surface noise and a thudding beat.
The sound remains stunningly eerie and instantly captivating. Its hypnotic charm lulls the listener on sound waves meant for the blissfully damned. Simply put, it is a brilliant work of art, and you would benefit from its continual presence on your playlist.
The unique quality that Dirty Backseat boast is their subtly and forever cool invocation of a carefully orchestrated sound. If you muddle this genre, the sound risks being a chaotic mess, or becoming too overbearing. In contrast Dirty Backseat has complete control over their noise factor.
The result is like being enveloped by all that is magical and grandeur, and it is best showcased on “Bitter Sweet”. It’s a five and a half minute expedition that guides the forever curious mind through all things groovy, vibrant and intriguing. Each listen reveals something new and alluring. Once you are bitten by this style of music, you will stay a bitten.
Right from the start, Dirty Backseat lays all its cards on the table, as they are smart enough to know what they’re doing. The entire EP provides a wonderfully refreshing feeling, comparable only to stepping out of a cold shower on a hot day.
There is a great energy to the performances, and a muted intensity which is the epitome of a hazy dream that you wish would never end. The beauty and charm of the melodies here are palpable, as Dirty Backseat take you up toward a state of musical ecstasy.