Review: Blink-182's 'Dogs Eating Dogs' EP

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Three weeks after its release, many of you long-time Blink-182 fans have probably given a listen to their new 5-track EP, Dogs Eating Dogs. I must admit, I was a bit apprehensive putting my headphones on, as I was not too thrilled with the results of their 2011 reunion album, Neighborhoods. Recent press and interviews with the band, however, indicated a possible shift in the right direction. Drummer Travis Barker was quoted saying, To me, this EP is a hundred times better than Neighborhoods. The band realizing that there was something not quite right with the prior LP bode well for the EP. Neighborhoods was apparently recorded via file sharing, where each member individually worked their parts out and sent them back and forth, rather than working collectively. Having recently parted with their long-time label, Interscope Records, Blink hit the studio on their own for the first time since Flyswatter (throwback much?) and did so in traditional fashion – together, as a band.

My apprehension subsided a bit after just the first few minutes. No, it’s not the Blink that we may remember; laughing and crying about teenage angst. What it is, though, is a properly executed maturation of those emotions. Additionally, Dogs Eating Dogs displays yet further progression in terms of musicality. While featuring similar layering and high production value as on Neighborhoods, the difference lies in the writing. There is a distinct new-wave element to the music, and the lyrics seem to mesh well with that sound. Diluted echoes of Angles & Airwaves and +44 are also evident.

Choruses in particular seem a bit unconventional, in the sense that they don’t go straight for the typical catchy and driving pop hook that was once Blink’s bread-and-butter. The title track has the most unique chorus of all the songs, starting with a long drum roll accenting a syncopation that sounds like it would lead into a full, pounding chorus, but instead opens up and gives the song room to breathe. Disaster features verses with Barker’s characteristic tom work creating a backbeat, while guitarist Tom DeLonge and bassist Mark Hoppus help fill the space with eighth-note patterns. The lyrics and call-and-response vocals between DeLonge and Hoppus are familiar to fans, but again the chorus takes the song in a new direction. Boxing Day is also a stylistic departure, featuring the simple, mellower instrumentation of acoustic guitar, electric bass, and electronic drums. Finally, Pretty Little Girl is perhaps the most new-wave track featured on the EP, featuring synthesizers, a rap bridge featuring Yelawolf, and DeLonge’s voice sounding like¦ well¦ Tom DeLonge.

The 19 minutes spent listening to the five-track EP were well spent. If you have yet to listen to it, check it out. While you’re at it, you might be interested in a similar OurStage artist, Aimless Again.

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