Despite being around since 2006, Canadian punk rock crew The Dirty Nil feel like a relatively new band. They only started releasing music in 2011 and after a string of EP’s and singles their first album came out in 2016. Last year saw them winning the Juno Award for Breakthrough Group of the Year so it feels weird that other bands have turned up, tuned out and burnt out in the same 12-year space as Nil has been playing.
Combining LA Punk rhythm with an Indie Band tempo, their third album Master Volume is out this week from Dine Alone Records.
Off the bat, Master Volume is probably my favourite album of the year. Top five anyway. So please forgive the next few paragraphs of gushing praise.
Opening with ‘What Heaven Feels Like’ we get a build-up of guitar/amp feedback distortion before the track kicks in with an Andante moderato tempo and a steady drumbeat. A pop-punk feel to it, it’s not a bad song. It’s just the album doesn’t really kick in for me until the second track, ‘Bathed in Light’. Again a quick tempo opening, the entwined guitar and drum arrangement grabs you by the throat with its rhythm and harmony. ‘Pain of Infinity’ is fully in the control of the lead guitarist and drummer that somehow turns a song about toxic relationships into sounding almost like a party anthem; it’s shouted lyrics and distortions are balanced with upbeat rhythm and vocal appetite.
‘Smoking is Magic’ is the standout track of the whole album. Fast paced with a Vivace tempo and a distinct guitar track and percussion backbone that work together, instead of trying to drown each other out. The track summarises the whole album. Methodical in its instrumental arrangement, balancing each strand within a zealous tempo mixed with upbeat rhythms and bitter lyrics it’s a fun track on a fun album.
Each track can be taken on its own or all together. They bounce off each other; while the signature tempo and arrangement temping repetitiveness it is counted by the changes in rhythm and harmony meaning every track stands out while flowing naturally into each other.
There is a freshness to the album that is rare outside the experimental circles of influence. You can hear influences of Weezer and Green Day throughout the album but if you listen you will also hear A and The Offspring with a sprinkling of bands like The Darkness and yes, Dirty Nil have their influences but they also have their own rich sound and style that makes them stand head and shoulders over everyone else out there at the moment.
A rich, fresh album, worth your time, worth your money. Get it when you can.
Master Volume is out on September 14th via Dine Alone.