When it comes to Blink-182, there’s not much the three piece hasn’t done. They’ve released a couple classic albums, released even more classic songs, become a staple in modern rock music – and everything in between. Teenagers and adults took the Internet by storm when the band announced that they were reuniting back in 2009 after a four-year hiatus. Two years later came the release of the band’s first album in eight years, Neighborhoods. However, it left a sour taste in a lot of people’s mouths when it was revealed that the band recorded the majority of the album separately, sending each other tracks via the Internet. While the album followed in the musical direction of the band’s untitled album, it left more to be desired, especially with the uncertainty of when we would hear more material from the band. Then in October the news broke that the band had left their longtime home at Interscope and planned to continue as independent, like many others are in these changing times in the music industry. Shortly after the announcement of the band leaving Interscope, the guys tweeted that new music would be out before the year was over: the Dogs Eating Dogs EP.
The band released “Boxing Day” as the first single off the EP, which happened to be the only holiday themed song. It showed how much of a difference having the band together to record made. While the song is easily the weakest track on the EP, you can hear the cohesiveness between Mark and Tom that was missing from Neighborhoods and what is really the backbone of the band. And given the band’s rocky past, not everything is going to instantly fall into place and this EP is the first stepping-stone in the right direction.
As for the rest of the EP, the good steps outweigh the bad moves. Yes, at times it sounds like Angels & Airwaves, +44 and every other Blink project, but at the end of the day it sounds like Blink 182. Thanks to the band’s side-projects these comparisons will never die, and it’s a shame. With most of the members closing in on 40, the guys have deserted the immature ways of the past and now make the music they should be making.
Dogs Eating Dogs starts off with “When I Was Young” which leads off with a 40 second intro, not exactly drastic change for the band or their advisories. The song plays off Mark and Tom’s give and take vocal duties that have made the band what it is today. Sounding as if it could have been pulled straight off the band’s untitled album, this would have been the perfect single and indication of what the album has in store. The title track follows, letting Mark take the helm of vocal duties, which doesn’t happen enough sadly. The track features everything fans look for in a Blink 182 song: dual vocals, Travis Barker’s in your face drumming and the band’s signature build ups topped with one of, if not the catchiest choruses on the whole album. “Disaster” is probably the most Tom influenced song on the album, featuring a lot of Angels & Airwaves styling – the spacey intro, delayed guitar and hook. Still, it manages to hold it’s own with Mark and Travis. The final song of the EP showcases where Blink has been and where they ultimately can be when they’re at the top of their game. “Pretty Little Girl” does a fantastic job of showing that the band are constantly pushing their limits and aren’t afraid to fail along the way. Lyrically, the song follows suit where the band left out before their hiatus showing that they can write mature songs for their maturing fan base. Musically, everything that people came to know and love about Blink is on this track, sans the untimely addition of Yelawolf dropping a 30 second verse that doesn’t quite fit but doesn’t tarnish what the band built.
Dogs Eating Dogs shows Blink 182 in a refreshing but yet an exciting point in their career. They aren’t afraid to experiment and fail, while still continuing on with the legacy they’ve created. While the EP isn’t the best material of the band’s career, it shows a promising future that looked ever so bleak just a mere three years ago. If the band continues on this path, they are sure to please not only their fans, but also themselves as they age.