Minimum R&B, the latest album by up-and-coming Canadian rock trio The Dirty Nil, is a collection of the band’s earlier singles and EP releases (with the exception of the new, bluesy “Caroline”). Album opener (and one of my favourite tracks on the record) “Fucking Up Young” was the band’s breakout single in 2011, and is the kind of track whose chorus you might find yourself absentmindedly singing or humming hours later. This song, and similar elements in others such as “Cinnamon” and “Verona Lung” had me tapping my foot along to a sound that reminded me of something akin to a slightly amped-up aggressive version of Australian rockers, Jet, while others like “Little Metal Baby Fist” give off more of a pop-punk feel.
There’s plenty of screaming and angry head-banging to be enjoyed, although some songs like “New Flesh” may be a bit metal for those who aren’t huge fans of the genre. At times, a somewhat fuzzy distortion surrounding the drums gives some tracks an unpolished but not unpleasant quality — like listening to a YouTube playlist of drum covers. Being a collection of previous work, a lot of diversity between songs makes for a good blend of harder, high energy tracks such as “Nicotine” and smoother, more mellow ones like “Hate Is A Stone.”
Minimum R&B is a fun, energetic collection of singles showcasing some of the different flavours of this Hamilton, Ontario rock outfit, who just recently won the 2017 Juno Award for Breakthrough Group of the Year. Definitely a great introduction for those not yet familiar with the band’s work.