Dinner Club are a four piece band from Winnipeg, Canada. Yup, we're featuring yet another Canadian band on CPRW. Like so many bands on CPRW, I discovered Dinner Club through Bandcamp. After seeing they had just released a new album (in September, I'm only just finding time to write the review) that they described as punk rock and ska I was intrigued. When I listened to the new album, titled Paid In Change, I didn't find quite what I was expecting but I did something quite wonderful.
Paid In Change begins with the song Never Enough. Now after the reading the description of punk rock and ska I was expecting to hear some fast paced and bouncy upstrokes and maybe even some horns. Nope! Instead Never Enough is a melodic pop punk song. If the track wasn't really good I would feel quite duped but there's a great sense of urgency in the track, as well as a fresh sound that's hard to ignore. Up next is the track Sunday Afternoon. This fast paced pop punk track has me thinking of Drive Thru Records era pop punk only with slightly more edge. It's a song about feeling like you're getting older and being bored of and fed up of your job. Hugely relatable to a lot of people reading this. I got awfully excited when I heard the horn line on the third song, West Bound. It's a slower tempo track that hooks you in with a simple melody and a huge chorus that had me wanting to scream along with it immediately. It's a song about being young and hoping your friends have succeeded where you haven't. It's kind of interesting in that it's an equal parts sad and happy song. I'm not sure how Dinner Club have managed this but bravo.
The pace picks up on the fourth song October. There's a fantastic skate punk intensity in the lengthy introduction of the song before vocalist Josh Verinder comes in with a more spiteful sounding vocal than we've previously heard. The track really comes to life during the chorus. It's a catchy one that you'll quickly be singing along to and it's nicely harmonised with a subtle horn line. I can't think of many bands that do this and it's a great technique. Like its opening, October features a lengthy outro where the trumpet really adds to the overall sound making it sound massive. Think about El Hefe's trumpet part in The Decline and you'll hopefully get an idea of what I mean. Can't Go Back sees a big change of pace and a very different sound. For the first time on Paid In Change, we are treated to some vocals from trumpet player Kiah Verinder. Combined with Josh's own vocals, this duet gives Dinner Club another really fresh sound. Paid In Change is full of wonderful surprises throughout.
Daysted Ways is a track about having big dreams in your youth and realising you've made no progress in reaching them as you've gotten older. There is more of a heavy edge on the track, musically reminding me slightly of Rise Against but without Tim McIlrath's trademark gruff vocal. The song's high point is on the chorus when the gang vocals happen. This gives the song a real feel of inclusion. When we reach track seven we are finally treated to an actual ska punk song! And it's great! Vs. The World begins with some glorious upstrokes and a heavy dose of trumpet. It's not long before I find myself wanting to have a bit of a skank around my living room. It instantly sounds uplifting which is fitting as the song is about continuing to fight your fight even when it seems as if everything is against you. I love ska so Vs. The World is a real album highlight for me. Best Of Luck sees Dinner Club revert back to their tried and trusted melodic pop punk. It's a great slow builder of a song. It starts out with Josh's vocals taking centre stage layered over the top of some fairly muted music. Soon enough things get louder and the tempo is upped quite considerably. This is a great way of hooking you into the song.
What It's Worth is a faster skate punk song that has me thinking of a poppier Pennywise. It's a socially aware song about how the world has become more self obsessed than ever and people don't take the time to think of others. This is one of those songs that really makes you think about things that we are all guilty of a lot of the time. The penultimate song is titled The Edge and begins with a fun noodley guitar riff before switching to an almost hardcore style. There's no doubt in my mind that The Edge is the hardest hitting and heaviest sounding track on Paid In Change. Dinner Club really are going all out to showcase all of their musical styles and that's another reason I am really enjoying this album. For the first time on Paid In Change, Josh is joined by a heavier, raw vocal courtesy of bass player Liam Marsch. Last up is the song Back Roads. In a surprising twist, which shouldn't really be a surprise at this point, Dinner Club seem to head down a folk punk road on this final song. Obviously they pull this off marvellously, Josh's rougher vocal style on the chorus really stands out. Back Roads is about remembering where you came from and sometimes wishing you could go back there. This is a fine way to finish the album.
I love finding albums like this from small bands. Paid In Change really is an album full of unexpected moments but also features eleven brilliantly crafted songs. It doesn't really seem to matter what style of song Dinner Club decide to play, they do them all exceedingly well.
Stream and download Paid In Change here: https://dinnerclubwinnipeg.bandcamp.com/releases
Like Dinner Club here: https://www.facebook.com/DinnerClubWinnipeg/
This review was written by Colin Clark.