In the ongoing saga of The World’s Biggest Pop Punk Band, blink-182 have found themselves self-releasing an EP – a move that would have been unthinkable at the time that they decided to go on hiatus.

It’s somewhat unthinkable too that many will listen to this new EP expecting to be disappointed. The band’s comeback record, ‘Neighborhoods’, largely failed to meet the lofty hopes of hungry fans new and old, and the eventual departure from their major label home felt all too predictable when it eventually arrived.

In many ways, ‘Dogs Eating Dogs’ will be a massive breath of fresh air to those that were disappointed last time around. Where ‘Neighborhoods’ felt rushed and product of a battle between egos, here it feels like you’re listening to a trio of musicians working together. Undoubtedly individual tracks will be compared to Tom Delonge’s Angels and Airwaves and Mark Hoppus’ +44, and the EP is certainly not a return the “classic” sound that made blink-182 the band they are today , but had they returned with this at the first time of asking, the skepticism may have been averted.

‘When I Was Young’ kicks the EP off at a flying pace and familiar half-time chorus, but the fairly predictable song structure and lack of vocal interplay between Hoppus and Delonge may let a few down. It’s a fine listen despite that though, and one that grows rather than impacts immediately. It’s not until the title track that follows that the EPs shines – the structure, flow and melody make for a thrilling listen – and it’s easily the standout moment of the EP.

The rest of the EP doesn’t quite the hit the heights of ‘Dogs Eating Dogs’, but the overall standard is excellent. Even the slightly out of place and unexpected rap towards the end of ‘Pretty Little Girl’ just about works, and though the EP really isn’t that far away from the sound of ‘Neighborhoods’, it actually feels like there’s a trio of hearts getting into it – which makes it interesting and listenable.

Overall, ‘Dogs Eating Dogs’ seems to set the band up well for the future, and there’s little doubt that it’s great improvement on the lackluster and rushed delivery of their last full length. It’s certainly well worth the modest price tag, and may just have squeezed on a few end of year lists if it had come out a bit earlier.

TOM AYLOTT