Album review: Dogs Eating Dogs

Originally published in The Omega (January 7, 2013)

Ladies and gentlemen, blink-182 is back.

On Dec. 18, 2012, the San Diego-area rockers released their latest effort, a five-track EP titled Dogs Eating Dogs.

This is the band’s second studio release since reuniting 2009. The first came in the form of the full-length effort,Neighborhoods, which dropped back in September 2011. It is also the group’s first release as independent artists after splitting from Interscope Records late in 2012.

Dogs Eating Dogs reveals a reinvented blink-182. Meshing influences from each band member’s individual side-projects, blink-182 puts forth a dynamic record. From Tom DeLonge’s signature Angels & Airwaves-esque guitar intro on “Disaster” to the inclusion of Yelawolf, Travis Barker’s latest partner in crime, on “Pretty Little Girl,” blink-182 has branched away from its pop-punk roots and moved more clearly into the realm of alternative rock.

Not only does this make for a much deeper and mature-sounding instrumental track, it also results in more serious lyrical content from the likes of DeLonge and Hoppus, classically known for their potty humour and immature shenanigans.

The EP opens with “When I Was Young,” an angst-filled tune that provides a fast-paced burst of energy in typical blink-182 fashion.

“Dogs Eating Dogs,” the title track to the release, features lead vocals from Mark Hoppus, whose vocals seemed to take more of a backseat to those of DeLonge throughout 2011′s Neighborhoods.

Apart from the odd b-side, blink-182 has typically avoided the folk-acoustic brand of rock that has become popular in mainstream rock in recent years. “Boxing Day” provides fans with the band’s first foray into the genre and while it is no Mumford and Sons, it certainly strays from the typical path blink-182 is normally seen walking.

The EP wraps up with “Pretty Little Girl,” arguably the most versatile and pleasing track on Dogs Eating Dogs. A tale about the triumphs and tribulations of love, Tom DeLonge’s vocals are accompanied by a catchy little interlude from Alabama-born rapper Yelawolf.

As always, Travis Barker’s drumming shines through as pure gold. It seems as though anything and everything the blink-182 drummer touches turns to absolute gold these days. He is one of the most respected percussionists in the industry and Dogs Eating Dogs adds more evidence to his case file.

blink-182 is expected to release a full-length studio album later in 2013.

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