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Album Review: Higher Power by The Dirty Nil

The Dirty Nil release their debut album Higher Power on 26th February via Dine Alone Records. Think big dirty garage rock mixed with a rabid punk intensity and you’d be on the right track. It’s a record that has a genuine realness, no pretences just straight up alt rock.

F or The Dirty Nil, the past three years have been a period of ceaseless, reckless action. Though the band formed in 2006, while they were still in high school, it wasn’t until the release of their first 7”” in 2011 that they truly began to harness the propulsive, kinetic energy of their live shows. Since then, they have channelled this energy into three further 7”s, four lathe-cut 7”s, a 10” EP, a few cassette EPs, and a handful of digital singles. Their dedication to short-form releases has helped foster their relentless creative output. The move into an album is a good one, it captures the attention and doesn’t let go.

There’s something familiar yet refreshing about The Dirty Nil. The band certainly aren’t breaking new ground with Higher Power, what they are doing though is taking tried and tested formulae mixing it up a little, resulting in a compelling and captivating listen. The influences are worn on their sleeves, it’s obvious but not so blatant it sound like a rehash.

While all the tracks on Higher Power are of a high standard there are some real standout moments that allude to a special quality to The Dirty Nil. ‘Zombie Eyed’ is an infectious and raucous track that gets the blood racing while ‘Lowlives’ channels a Gish era Smashing Pumpkins in its ferocity and style while retaining a instantaneous pop quality. The big guitar solos in ‘Violent Hands’ transports you back to The Stooges in their pomp, while ‘Know Your Rodent’ excels as the strongest and most commanding track on the album. There’s a big 90s alt-grunge feel that conjures a likeness to Bush. There’s an energy and unbridled release of power within the riffs that make this such an excellent track.

The vicious spike to the ridiculously short ‘Fugue State’ is exhilarating before the album peaks again in the wondrously heavy and chaotic ‘Helium Dreamer’. Again it’s the energy that makes it so appealing.

With Higher Power, The Dirty Nil create an impressive and commanding debut album. It marks them out as ones to watch and they could very well become your new favourite band.

AD Rating 7/10

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