Release Date: Feb 26, 2016
Record label: Dine Alone
To even discuss Higher Power without mention of The Dirty Nil's glorious five-year run as a singles act does the LP a disservice. There's something stubbornly anachronistic about how the group's conducted themselves to date, having gigged for years in small Ontario clubs behind a string of beloved 7-inch singles, compilation appearances, and cassettes. This is a band that, independent of any label backing, facilitated their very own record-of-the-month club.
It only takes about 30 seconds into Higher Power to get a good sense of what the Dirty Nil's all about. Amp noise gives way to a simple yet frenetic guitar riff, the band crashes in, singer Luke Bentham cries out in his charismatic wail, and before long, "No Weaknesses" is stuck in your head for the day. It's dead-simple rock'n'roll, and it's fantastic.
As the name suggests, the Ontario band Dirty Nil are profoundly aware of their emptiness and impurity, and the only thing that rouses Luke Bentham and Dave Nardi out of their self-loathing is despising someone else even more. Maybe it was inspired by drinking alone in a dingy apartment, but Higher Power is punk with high-end production values, meant for big rooms. They’re professed classic rock fans and gear snobs and it shows, as Higher Power is an album that sounds like it expects to be paid for.
You can always count on the Dirty Nil for an espresso-force jolt to your system, and the rockers' debut album and first for Dine Alone does just that. After years of releasing 7-inches, 10-inches and cassettes, the young trio from Dundas, Ontario, finally give us a full-length's worth of tracks that bring together several previously released songs (No Weaknesses, Zombie Eyed, Wrestle Yü To Hüsker Dü) plus new tunes. What jumps out when hearing so many songs all together is not only the massive energy the band unwaveringly puts forth but also the sameyness of the songs.