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The Dirty Nil - Fuck Art (Album Review)

Tuesday, 05 January 2021 Written by Huw Baines

The belief that rock music should be fun has taken its share of beatings over the years, humiliated by oafish novelty bands and dismissed by pseuds sitting atop intellectually satisfying record collections. But Canadian power-trio the Dirty Nil fervently believe that rock music should be fun, and that understanding is the cornerstone of their outrageously enjoyable third LP ‘Fuck Art’.

After their punkish bruiser of a debut and 2018’s bullish follow-up ‘Master Volume’, here they are happier indulging their stadium rock ambitions, with guitarist and vocalist Luke Bentham swinging for the fences at every opportunity. There isn’t a riff or chorus here that isn’t delivered with 100% conviction and the sort of gusto that lesser bands might deem a tad gauche.

There are songs here that sound like Weezer without the self-sabotage, lyrics that name drop Cro-Mags and Turnstile.

The Dirty Nil thrive in the space between those two not-quite extremes, with the rhythm section of Ross Miller and Kyle Fisher playing with thunderous economy while Bentham’s riffs range unconstrained across the piece.

In the opener Doom Boy they have crafted something of a manifesto, pinwheeling from Slayer-happy chug (and a chorus shout out) to a pyrotechnic hook that melds shoutalong grit with a wry sense of humour. The ensuing Blunt Force Concussion, another of the record’s singles, has the same sort of energy on tap but serves it with a twist of ‘90s alt-rock jangle. 

It’s early on in the year, couldn’t be any earlier in reality, but the Dirty Nil have already thrown down a gauntlet to other bands kicking around the idea of welding their rough edges to a massive, irony-free sense of rockstar grandstanding. ‘Fuck Art’ is fun. Big, dumb fun that is in fact big, meticulously crafted and beautifully executed fun.

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