Reviewed by Mark Plummer
Neighborhoods wasn’t exactly a fan favorite, instead being a more acquired taste. It didn’t hold much of the band that had been and many seemed to worry about who this band, that had become synonymous with pop-punkers around the globe, were turning into. Maybe that was in-part due to the recording style that Neighborhoods undertook, the three members never being in the same room. Whatever the case, Dogs Eating Dogs should be more appealing, and an easier taste of this newer blink-182 for fans who were not convinced by the last record.
Admitting that this is a band who probably won’t go back to the star releases of Enema of the State and Take Off Your Pants and Jacket is the first step to realizing just how positive this release is. Whilst it’s certainly closer to Neighborhoods in style, it retains a strong foot holding in blink’s self-titled (and arguably, best) release. As well as dabbling in the 2003 giant, there are definite hints of +44 and of course, Angels and Airwaves. It may be that those who loved AvA, will fall for Dogs Eating Dogs a lot harder than others, it’s the boldest component and Tom’s writing style is everywhere you look. But that’s not to say this is a Tom Delonge record, unlike Neighborhoods which seemed to overflow with copious amounts of AvA, Dogs Eating Dogs feels more universal and orientated away from that style of writing.
It’s probably fair to say that when Mark Hoppus takes the lead, this is where the record is at its strongest, Dogs Eating Dogs being a track that exemplifies this. Fast paced, dark and quick to hit, if Stockholm Syndrome (blink-182) and When Your Heart Stops Beating (+44) were to have a baby, this would be the result. Boxing Day is a great example of Tom almost holding back on that overdone American accent that is most reminiscent of AvA. Instead this feels like a grown up version of a few of the tracks from the bonus material on Take Off Your Pants and Jacket (think Mother’s Day/What Went Wrong). It’s not got any of the toilet humor that blink had a reputation for, it’s matured and shows how far their music has come.
This isn’t the best blink-182 release, but it’s a step in the right direction and each song is worth purchasing, minus maybe the last track that breaks into a rap at the end, this is just plain unusual. Fingers crossed it’s a sign of what’s to come on their upcoming, seventh album.
3½ out of 5