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It’s album number four for Ontario rock’n’rollers The Dirty Nil, and if you needed a reminder of why rock will never die, come spend a moment with Free Rein to Passions.
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An ardent and immersive ode to worshipping all things in and around riffs and rollicking good times, Free Rein to Passions will come as no surprise to anyone already familiar with the Canadian trio, particularly those from day one. For those less familiar, the group emerged from high school, forming in the mid 2000s and ultimately going on to unleash three studio albums from 2016 to 2021, including their most recent opus Fuck Art. But it’s 2023 that we find The Dirty Nil relishing in deliciously unabashed nostalgic punk fused with hard rock and an irresistible grin.
Kicking off with the fiery Celebrations, Free Rein to Passions makes its intentions firmly clear, laden with chugs, thicc rhythms and rock god-worthy vocals that are near-impossible to resist screaming along to. Next up, Nicer Guy bustles in with some pop punk goodness, like if Violent Soho went to the beach with blink-182 and penned a song to commemorate it. From here, The Dirty Nil fit between emphatic stomps laced with gooey harmonies (Undefeated), plodding grunge that would make My Chemical Romance proud (Atomize Me), amiable jaunts (Land Of Clover), thumping toe-tappers (Blowing Up Things In The Woods), angsty tales (Stupid Jobs) and fuzzed-up punk anthems (1990).
Rock comes home to roost on Free Rein to Passions, and The Dirty Nil have recaptured the spirit of what genuinely makes a good punk outing. Welcome back, The Dirty Nil.
The album’s penultimate and title track gifts some discordant bliss, but it’s truly via closing track The Light, The Void And Everything that The Dirty Nil save their most polished hand until last, busting out an emphatic heart-breaker that diverts into ever-growing instrumentation and once again hints at the soaring brood that MCR and their kin are so often fond of, but with a marked punk spirit.
Whether you’re new to The Dirty Nil or an OG fan, Free Rein to Passions is a genuine treasure from a band who have well and truly shaken off the “underground” label prior to 2023. Free Rein to Passions is unsurprisingly still polished but without sacrificing its raw heart and soul; and for anyone who has a penchant for anthemic jams packed full of authentic heart and rollicking spirit, this is one album you’ll want in your listening rotation for a long time to come. Rock comes home to roost on Free Rein to Passions, and The Dirty Nil have recaptured the spirit of what genuinely makes a good punk outing. Welcome back, The Dirty Nil.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Celebration, Atomize Me, Blowing Up Things In The Woods
STICK THIS NEXT TO: PUP, Drug Church, My Chemical Romance