DISHPIT drops a tidal wave of a debut album that leaves its own unique sonic mark of freaky grunge on a new generation of rock.
From the first notes, Dipshit immediately overflows with energy, unabashedly demanding to be heard for every growl and murmur. Ten of the album’s songs were produced by veteran audio engineer Steve Albini, who was behind the mixer on classics like In Utero and Surfer Rosa, so it’s no surprise that this tidal wave of a debut album is impeccably produced.
Montréal’s DISHPIT has the rough weirdo edges of DIY punk venue regulars, as well as a heavy-yet-melodic quality reminiscent of early 2000s alt-rock radio. I wish they’d been around back then to shake up the male-dominated airwaves full of post-grunge Nirvana-wannabes — my angsty pre-teen self could have used a dose of their shameless queer feminist energy to liven up those lonely nights. I’m sure I would have made this album the definitive soundtrack to punching pillows and scribbling moody poetry. But, who am I kidding? As an only slightly more grown-up, I know I’ll put this album on next time I need a good cathartic limb-thrashing dance in my kitchen, to my downstairs neighbour’s dismay.
The album opens with “Plaza People” and “1000 Ways to Die,” two bangers that make it instantly impossible to sit still. The interplay between Nora Kelly’s guitar and Jed Stein’s bass falls into the tightest of grooves, and the result is infectiously catchy. “This Time” starts off as a melodic rock ballad with doomy basslines before spiralling into a frantic and pounding downpour of bottled-up rage. Throughout, the vocals are constantly flowing from tongue-in-cheek absurdity, to sardonic and growling, to angry and vulnerable, and back again, without ever being jarring. The ups and downs show the same emotive range of singers like PJ Harvey or Fiona Apple in the alternate universe where she writes post-punk songs.
“Seven” will send you into a heavy state of hypnosis, like going through the motions of compulsive heterosexuality, with lulling lyrics like: “He hurts me / I turn to other men / I start to sexualize my friends / But that’s not me, it can’t be.” Just when you thought you had a second to catch your breath, “Trash Queen,” a freaky garage banger that would give Wipers and Ty Segall a run for their money, will send you diving back into the mosh pit. Anti-capitalist acoustic number “Get Rich Die” closes the album with some hard-hitting chords and questions about the way of the world. Even in more quiet and contemplative moments, DISHPIT refuses to accept the status quo and throws back every affliction through their bold art.
Taking some of the best elements from the last fifty years of rock music, DISHPIT puts together an album that’s their own special blend of freaky post-punk grunge rock. Along with contemporaries such as IDLES, they reject the toxicity of alt-rock culture, while also leaving a unique sonic mark as a member of this genre’s new generation. The future of rock is feminist, queer, and audaciously weird.