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The Dirty Nil | Master Volume

The Hamilton power trio brings the roll as well as the rock on their sophomore album.

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Rock is dead, they say. Clearly, they haven’t had The Dirty Nil experience. And they really should. After all, the members of this Hamilton power trio have been faithfully bringing the rock for years now. Even better, they’ve been bringing it loud, hard and fast. And with a few gags tossed in for good measure. But on their sophomore album Master Volume, they try something new and interesting: They also bring the roll. That is not to suggest that they’ve lost their ability or the desire to plant their feet, put their heads down and fly hell-bent-for-leather through a noisy two-minute firecracker about dying young in a car crash. They’ve just gained enough experience to know that there’s also nothing wrong with slowing down a hair, stretching out a tad and maybe even getting into something resembling a groove every now and then. Which is exactly what they do on several of these tracks — with the welcome assistance of Seattle producer John Goodmanson, whose resume covers the musical waterfront from Bikini Kill and Sleater-Kinney to Train and Wu-Tang Clan. Of course, The Dirty Nil don’t end up sounding like any of them. In fact, if you put a gun to my head, I’d say that between Luke Bentham’s full-throated wail, messy guitar riffage and blackly humourous lyrics, they come off sounding a little like a punkier, edgier Cheap Trick circa 1977. The fact that they brazenly title one song Auf Wiedersehen doesn’t hurt. Of course, then they blow that comparison out of the water by closing the album with a smokin’ version of Metallica‘s Hit the Lights. Either way, if Master Volume doesn’t rock enough for you, maybe it’s time to get your hearing checked. Or at least switch to decaf.