Blink-182: Dogs Eating Dogs – EP review

Blink-182 – Dogs Eating Dogs
Available now

With their seventh studio album due in 2013 the recent EP from Blink-182 perhaps offers a glimpse of what’s to come with the long player.

After returning from their five-year hiatus in 2009 Blink-182 spent two years writing and recording the follow-up to their eponymous fifth studio album (whilst simultaneously touring the world including a headline performance at Reading Festival in 2010). The end result, Neighborhoods, was well received by critics, however drew a more mixed reaction from fans. The general consensus seemed to be that the band had strayed far too close to the sound of Tom DeLonge’s side project Angels & Airwaves, and left too much of the “old Blink-182” sound behind.

The Dogs Eating Dogs EP marks the first release by Blink-182 as an independent artist, having left their label Interscope earlier this year, and bridges the gap between Neighborhoods and the band’s seventh studio album, which is due to be released in 2013.

The opening track “When I Was Young” builds in a very Angels & Airwaves-esque manner, with a pipe organ and piano playing over a slow, reverberating drum beat. It quickly alters to a faster, more typical punk rock beat with the chorus containing a heavier riff reminiscent of “Up All Night” and is arguably DeLonge’s best vocal performance in quite some time.

The title track is possibly the stand out song of the EP. Provoking thoughts of Hoppus and Barker’s band +44, it is much closer to the sound of Blink-182’s older material and should appease the concerns of older fans. With a ridiculously infectious chorus, sung by DeLonge, and brilliantly written verses and bridge, sung by Hoppus, the track serves to highlight the fact that Blink-182 are truly at their best when trading vocals between both singers.

Similar to “When I Was Young”, “Disaster” bears great resemblance in sound and style to Angels & Airwaves, with the opening guitar riff sounding suspiciously similar to that of “Epic Holiday” from AVA’s album LOVE. Hoppus’ backing vocals give the song a slightly more interesting edge and the lyric “your soul it will float like a dove” being a particular highlight.

Following track “Boxing Day” was the first song released from the EP and remains one of it’s best. Much more stripped back and mellow, it has a very indie and folky feel, perhaps channeling some of Hoppus’ love of Mumford and Sons.

Closing the EP is “Pretty Little Girl”, apparently written by DeLonge for his wife Jennifer, and is the song I was most apprehensive for on the record after it became evident it featured a guest rapping vocal from Yelawolf. Fortunately the rap fits extremely well and does not sound remotely out of place and makes for a very intriguing bit of experimentation by the band.

It is difficult to say how much of this sound will continue on to the next Blink-182 album, but it seems like the logical progression forward from Neighborhoods. Dogs Eating Dogs makes for a very interesting release, incorporating many of the elements that make up the identity of the band and have garnered them such a large fan base. It also fully serves its purpose, keeping the fans interested and wetting the appetite for their next album in 2013.

All words by Tom Eldred.

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