Is there a better way to ring in this new year than the sweet, dulcet tones… Wait, fuck, this isn’t classical music. The Dirty Nil are here to bring the party, and they do it wonderfully on their third album.
Fuck Art is loud, proud, and the type of fun I haven’t had since at least March (my life isn’t that exciting). These Ontarians have always been under-appreciated, but it seems like 2021 is the year of the Nil.
Remember that one good Weezer song? Fuck Art is what would happen if you turned everything about that to 11, ran it through a Cheap Trick and Judas Priest filter, played it at double speed, and pressed play. So I guess it doesn’t really sound like Weezer, huh?
What’s particularly excellent about The Dirty Nil this time around is they’ve figured out the balance between power pop, punk, and metal in a way that really never existed before. Fuck Art has all the bombast of the 80s with none of the cocaine (well, if “Done With Drugs” is to be believed). It’s early in the year, but if there are any better hooks than “Doom Boy” or a riff that bests “Ride or Die,” then we’ll have had one awesome year of music.
Finding faults in the first eight songs is a challenge, but a good one nonetheless. The band flex different muscles throughout, leaning into the various aspects of their sound (grunge, classic rock, punk, thrash) with ease, emphasizing their keen knowledge of how to make fast, fun bangers.
It’s only in the final few songs that things fall apart a bit. It’s not that they are duds—“To the Guy Who Stole My Bike” is humorous—but they lack the staying power of the record’s first two-thirds. Regardless, what we are left with is an astoundingly excellent punk rock record that isn’t afraid to play around with genre.
It’s probably the perfect driving record, to boot. The Dirty Nil’s new release may come at the beginning of 2021, but it’s sure to end up on many year-end lists, too.
Purchase or stream the record here.