Review: The Dirty Nil – Minimum R&B

Having created a considerable buzz with their debut album, Higher Power, Ontario natives The Dirty Nil are showing great potential, scoring tours with the likes of fellow Canadians Alexisonfire and Billy Talent. Now, the three-piece have released a ‘new’ compilation album, ‘Minimum R&B’. A prequel of sorts, it’s eleven tracks feature various singles, b-sides and select tracks from their ‘Smite’ EP predating the ‘Higher Power’’s release.

While ‘refined’ may be a bit of a stretch, Minimum R&B’s first half is ever so slightly more measured than its successor, and opener ‘Fucking Up Young’ gets things off to a great start. With a euphoric chorus rearing its head within twenty seconds, The Dirty Nil’s knack for stadium rock hooks is summed up succinctly here. The same qualities can be found in Verona Lung’s bluesy dynamics: the production may be skinned-knee raw, but the band’s sincerity shines through enough to compel even the most detached Foo Fighters fan to put down their prawn sandwich and take notice.

As time goes on, things become even more unhinged, with only one song breaching on the two-and-a-half-minute mark in the record’s second half. The double-threat of ‘Guided By Vices’ and ‘Nicotine’ brings some serious rock ‘n’ roll boogie, while ‘Beat’ and ‘The New Flesh’ take this to an even higher gear, as vocalist/guitarist Luke Bentham’s already gritty voice is reduced to a feral roar. This may not be full on punk, but at times it’s just as intense.

Winding down with the previously unreleased ‘Caroline’, the three piece expand their sound in a slow-burning blues rock lament. A fitting bookend to an album that by all accounts shouldn’t sound as cohesive as it does, ‘Minimum R&B’ stands on its own as a great introduction to The Dirty Nil, but also works well as a companion piece to ‘Higher Power’ for those wishing to delve further into the band’s sound.

4.5/5

‘Minimum R&B’ by The Dirty Nil released on 28th April on Dine Alone Records / Fat Wreck Chords.

The Dirty Nil links: Facebook|Twitter|Bandcamp

Words by Josh Graham (@jollyboyjosh_)

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