The Dirty Nil

Fuck Art

Written by: PP on 15/02/2021 20:30:06

The Dirty Nil's "Master Volume" was a breakthrough album that I described as 'exhilarating, intoxicating, electrifying and thrilling' a few years back. Since then, the Canadian trio has matured their sound somewhat, opting for a cleaner and more polished approach on the third album "Fuck Art", much akin to the singles from its predecessor. That's not to say their brawling vocals that sound like they're about to splash over from the record when they break into scratchy screams are gone, they're just used more moderately, and the result is a sound that's more solidly in the Weezer category than ever before.

If "Master Volume" was abrasive and punk rock in its attitude and over-the-top energy, "Fuck Art" is more anthemic and characterized by more focused songwriting in comparison. Songs like "Elvis '77" are infectiously catchy and designed for mass sing-alongs, clearly written to grow the size of the scenes they play on in the future. It's slower and more expansive, but my god is it catchy, fortified by the whole collective singing from the top of their lungs at key moments. At the same time, "Ride Or Die" is a great example of the band toying with other genres. Here, metallic guitars morph a punk rock spirited song into sounding like a speed metal song.

Lyrically, the record is rather clever. "Done With Drugs", for instance, makes the admirable claim that the vocalist is done with drugs, but then questions right after whether the drugs are done with him. It's an up-then-down singalong that sounds merrier than its topic is, but that's always been one of the strengths of The Dirty Nil that takes them right into the same songwriting group as the likes of The Menzingers. Similarly, the album highlight "Hello Jealousy" deals with its topic using some wordsmith-worthy turns and twists:

"I can have what I want, I can have what I need

But as long as the prospect of more speaks to me

The sun never shines, no, it just kinda glows

The grass is pretty green but it could be more so


I'm going through the season wearing envy like a coat"

But if there's one thing "Fuck Art" is lacking, it is the sense of urgency and brooding energy that made "Master Volume" feel so nicely chaotic. Here, the increased production value irons away some of that barfight style passion that made the previous record feel like it was aggressively coming at you. The songs are not as rough around the edges, leaving behind a more accessible, alternative rock vibe rather than a dangerous punk rock one. In other words, it's less like PUP and more like Weezer nowadays. It's still pretty good and sounds familiar if you're coming off either of the first two records, but would I pick this one over either one of its predecessors? Most likely not.

Download: Elvis '77, Hello Jealousy, Doom Boy
For the fans of: Weezer, PUP, The Menzingers
Listen: Facebook

Release date 01.01.2021
Dine Alone Records

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