Review Summary: A conservative melding of side projects that just manages to sustain anticipation for LP number seven.
It’s the height of the holiday season and blink-182 has given their independent, self-produced gift to us in the five track EP Dogs Eating Dogs. This release acts as a stepping stone between Neighborhoods and their next full-length, which is currently in the works. While it certainly has its ear-turning moments and is an enjoyable listen, the songs feel slightly held back and there is no wow-inducing content that will demand future playbacks. By the end, however, you are still left wondering what more they are capable of and if they will capitalize on the energy and independence they say leaving Interscope/DGC has given them.
Opener “When I Was Young” contains some sentimental (yet somewhat reproachful) lyrics recollecting on childhood, but is certainly nothing we haven’t already heard. The vocal melody and syncopation almost exactly mirrors that of Angels & Airwaves’ “Dry Your Eyes” – and this isn’t the only moment Dogs Eating Dogs sees the influence of members’ side projects hurdling through the speakers. Aside from Tom singing the refrain, the title track could very well camouflage itself anywhere on +44’s studio effort and go unnoticed. The broody, spacey intro to “Disaster” creates an engaging atmosphere that is immediately reminiscent of Angels and Airwaves’ latest releases, however the build up crescendos to nothing exciting, and the elementary lyrics make it a forgettable track. “Boxing Day” is an instrumentally well-constructed piece restrained by basic lyrics. (“Sad how far you ran, I’ll search this land, up through the clouds then back here”) “Pretty Little Girl” is a synth-laden track written by DeLonge for his wife. It comes off optimistic and sincere, and is the second highlight of the EP behind the title track. While the Yelawolf feature is certainly not from left field (given his appearance on Barker’s solo album), I wouldn’t have enlisted him as a closer being that his verse creates no more of a final impact than DeLonge could have on his own.
Unfortunately, the majority of the release comes off as reserved and vapid minding the band's past greatness, but the standout sections show that the trio still has the potential to create something substantial. Hoppus’ frantic vocal delivery paired with Barker’s percussive demonstration on “Dogs Eating Dogs” and DeLonge’s performance on “Pretty Little Girl” are sparks of vigor, but the release overall does not contain any home run swings. For this, we just may have to hold on a little while longer for the upcoming full length. So as you unwrap Mark, Tom, and Travis’ gift, know that it certainly isn't the comeback many hoped for, but don’t go reaching for the receipt just quite yet.