The Dirty Nil – ‘Master Volume’

By Danny Randon

There’s something about The Dirty Nil that’s wonderful yet oh-so-rare in this day and age: a young rock ‘n’ roll band that sparkles with star power, without sounding like a pastiche – or worse yet, a pisstake – of their genre’s former glories.

Already taking on support slots in stadiums and daytime sets on festival main stages as if they’re headlining the joint, the Ontario trio have an unquenchable thirst for firing out riff after riff after motherfuckin’ riff. Throughout ‘Master Volume’, the mischievous older brother of 2016 debut ‘Higher Power’, they downright abuse their power to create earworm anthems with a dark sense of humour.

From the opening one-two punch of ‘That’s What Heaven Feels Like’ into ’Bathed In Light’, singer/guitarist Luke Bentham channels his morbid fascinations of ‘rolling through the windshield’ to rub shoulders with Jesus, Elvis and his late grandmother into addictive sugar rushes of power-pop.

Bentham is a brilliantly outlandish character, singing with the flamboyance of Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander and the curled lip of The Replacements’ Paul Westerberg, all while stylin’ and profilin’ like the ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair. His comrades in drummer Kyle Fisher and bassist Ross Miller thrash along with a similar attitude on ‘Please, Please Me’ – not a Beatles cover, but a brass-spattered punk rock rager inspired by the band’s tour with hardcore survivalists Flag – and ‘Smoking Is Magic’.

The Dirty Nil may have tightened the screws on their sun and Miller Lite-soaked jams on their sophomore full-length, but they’ve not watered down the piss and vinegar by any measure. It’s an album that takes left turns with the more mid-paced ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ and ‘Evil Side’, but hits the gas with dangerous energy and youthful abandon.

Say what you will, Gene Simmons: The Dirty Nil are the bubblegum-chewing, whiskey-swigging, pot-smoking saviours of rock ‘n’ roll. Strap yourselves in and crank up ‘Master Volume’, because there ain’t nothing wrong with a good time.

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