The Dirty Nil

Ant-in­fested mo­tels, gun­shots in the night… It’s just a reg­u­lar day for this punk-in­fused rock trio.

Classic Rock - - The Dirt -

“They say that to rest is to rust,” front­man Luke Ben­tham says, while en­dur­ing, rather than en­joy­ing, a slither of down­time. “When we’re at home we get to chill out, watch Net­flix and hang out with our dogs, but we’re al­ready ready to get back on the road.”

Time at home isn’t some­thing this Cana­dian trio (com­pleted by drum­mer Kyle Fisher and new bassist Ross Miller) have been all that ac­cus­tomed to in re­cent years. Hav­ing formed in their sleepy home town of Hamil­ton, On­tario in 2006, it was 10 years be­fore they re­leased their de­but al­bum, 2016’s Higher Power. Since then, they’ve been mak­ing up for lost time, play­ing 350 shows in the past three years, in­clud­ing open­ing for The Who in 2017.

Their third al­bum, Mas­ter Vol­ume, is due this month. Writ­ten on the road through­out 2017 and recorded at the be­gin­ning of 2018, it beefs up the band’s face-smash­ing punk-rock sound with some sta­dium-rock sen­si­bil­i­ties. They say Mas­ter Vol­ume is more of a strut com­pared to the sprint of their ear­lier work. That much is re­flected in tracks like Bathed In Light and Pain Of In­fin­ity, which man­age to cram MC5-level raw power, Rivers Cuomo-es­que songcraft and the puppy-dog en­ergy of fel­low hotly tipped whip­per­snap­pers like Weather­state into ex­plo­sive sub-three-minute blasts.

It’s not just the mu­sic of The Dirty Nil that’s catch­ing peo­ple’s at­ten­tion, though. They earned mini cult sta­tus af­ter post­ing a video on­line of a seem­ingly end­less pro­ces­sion of ants march­ing up and down the cor­ri­dor in one of the less-than-savoury mo­tels they stayed at on their last tour.

Such ex­pe­ri­ences are cap­tured in the song Su­per 8, a gi­gan­tic-cho­rused, pop-rock ode to the huge bud­get ho­tel chain that the band of­ten fre­quent while they’re out on tour.

“That song captures one of the many moods of tour­ing. Six weeks into an eight-week tour and you’re in a Su­per 8 mo­tel and there’s bugs crawl­ing up the walls and you’re wo­ken up by gun­shots in the night. Those ex­pe­ri­ences sharpen your wits, and also make you ap­pre­ci­ate it when you get a nice Airbnb where you can stretch out your legs and not worry about gun­fire.”

With an al­bum full of stom­pers in the bag, their ho­tel bud­get should soon take them out of the ‘oc­ca­sional gun­fire’ bracket.

We can’t help but no­tice that Mas­ter Vol­ume has a cou­ple of fa­mil­iar song ti­tles. Is Ben­tham giv­ing a wink to The Bea­tles and Cheap Trick with Please, Please Me and Auf Wieder­se­hen?

“It’s more of a mis­chievous tongue flash to the past,” he says, laugh­ing. “I’m ob­sessed with rock’n’roll, but I think one of the biggest prob­lems is peo­ple feel­ing that you can’t do this or that. We tried to piss on that with those ti­tles. It’s a trash­ing of all things holy, which ba­si­cally is our mis­sion state­ment.” RC

“The Who were prettymuch the rea­son we wanted to start a band.”

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