(If you like: FIDLAR, PUP, Fugazi)
Hamilton trio The Dirty Nil re-paint the line between rock n’ roll and punk. Infectious hooks and melodies are doused in gritty vocals and distorted guitar effects overtop a layer of rigorous percussion. As bored, talented youth growing up in their parents’ basement, The Dirty Nil have come along way in the past few years. After signing with legendary Canadian indie label Dine Alone Records in 2015, their abrasive rock style has been collected into an 11-track record for the debut full-length Higher Power.
Without reinventing the wheel, the Dirty Nil generate a new burst of energy into the punk scene. Influenced by the music of Fugazi, Black Flag, and a timely upbringing during the 2000’s alternative rock era, the album jumps around between sub-genres of grunge, alt-punk, and even a dabble of hardcore.
The first single “No Weaknesses” was an exciting glimpse at the entire project back in September, and it encompasses the band’s best qualities. Blarring instrumentation from drummer Kyle Fisher, bassist Dave Nardi, and the rusty growls of lead singer/guitarist Luke Bentham pause for a split second before transitioning into the ’00-esque hit “Zombie Eyed”. Sum 41, Jimmy Eat World, and Green Day instantly come to mind, as the flashy, yet simple guitar hook stays imprinted in memory long after it’s over.
Bentham’s unforgiving vocals blurs the line between screaming and belting; “Friends in the Sky” and “Bruto Bloody Bruto” sound uncannily like Patrick Stickles of Titus Andronicus, with the unpolished yet accurate gut-wrenching howls overtop hyper-speed riffs and melodic destruction.
The entire album is a steady jolt of electricity; frustration, tension, and inebriated impulsivity unleash themselves consistently throughout the album. “Lowlives” and the 46-second “Fugue State” inject higher levels of adrenaline into the tracklist, touching on elements of hardcore punk, and the anti-heartbreak track “Wrestle Yu to Husker Du” gives the band some added character and vulnerability.
Higher Power is a dopamine-filled, brain-bashing blitz of organic punk n’ roll, following the trail of other great youth-punk bands such as PUP, FIDLAR, and Modern Baseball. Just as PUP’s debut record launched them into a frame of success, The Dirty Nil have released their own catapult.
Catch The Dirty Nil on tour and head to their website to order your copy of Higher Power.