Blink-182 | Dogs Eating Dogs EP
There are few, if any, bands from the early noughties pop-punk boom capable of creating an air of such expectation and excitement than hall of famers Blink 182, and why not? Having spent the last 13 years near the peak of their powers, their five song EP Dogs Eating Dogs is testimony to a band that to many, even after all this time, still feel exciting and unpredictable. However, after Tom, Mark and Travis’ last studio album Neighbourhoods received mixed reviews, there have been others left debating if the San Diegan rockers can recapture their infamous energetic, anthemic, fast-paced productions, responsible for capturing so many teenage lives, or whether the 2005 hiatus should, perhaps, have been permanent. This time they have not disappointed.
The early stages of the EP offers a throwback to pre 2005 Blink. Additional earthy undertones are offset by sugar-rush induced melodies, exemplified by the opening track ‘When I was Young’. A charming, unsophisticated number which follows a familiar, tried and tested blueprint from previous Blink 182 albums. A throwback to earlier creations such as ‘Carousel’ and ‘Josie’, it is a safe opener.
The sweet indulgence continues with relentless, uncompromising title track ‘Dogs Eating Dogs’, which easily asserts itself as the stand out song on the record. Its sinister underlay perfectly complements the downtrodden lyrics. The delicate blend between Delong and Hoppus’ vocals, combined with Barkers masterful, if not expected, delivery on drums leaves the recipient feeling spoilt, as though that they just ate the last sweet in the bag.
With the title track over, the EP flows into the more reserved, analytical, tranquil ‘Disaster’ where a deliberately awkward ambience ensues. A relatively upbeat musical production clashes with lonesome, depressing lyrics which gives this song a schizophrenic, uneasy atmosphere portraying the artists disturbed emotions. Masterful song writing throughout this track showcases the Californian trios ability to manipulate emotions, as if the band have absorbed the audience into their lives.
As Acoustic track ‘Boxing Day’ introduces itself, a lyrical theme of resent, depression and rejection is beginning to plaster itself over the entire EP. Similar to ‘Disaster’ the lyrics become the music’s antithesis, where jovial musical undertones are juxtaposed by Hoppus’ vocals. A simple, underwhelming song, ‘Boxing Day’ is an easily listen even if it does little to enthral.
‘Dogs Eating Dogs’ then reaches its finale with the intricate ‘Pretty Little Girl’. The record glides effortlessly through its four minutes and forty two seconds with Delongs delicate vocal melodies floating on air. A surprise contribution from Alabama born Yelawolf disrupts the natural flow this song offers, however, it plugs an otherwise sparse breakdown. It fittingly finishes full circle with its smooth, sweet-toothed chorus, concluding both an impressive track, and a show- stopping EP.
Blink 182 undoubtedly had a lot to prove with the release of ‘Dogs Eating Dogs’. A second consecutive poor display would have seen a conclusion unfitting of a band as successful and influential as Blink 182 . Thankfully this EP has helped rekindle their rise back to pop-punk prominence. Charming, melodies and a rejuvenated sound, not heard from Tom, Mark and Travis since the end of the four year hiatus, has produced a delightful and addictive record. Both fans and critics are anticipating great things from Blink 182 in 2013 and after an EP as complete as this, it seems Blink 182 are back.