Dr. Dog is as delightful as a real dog.
Shame, Shame, released earlier this year, has already gotten a lot of buzz, as it should because it’s great. At first listen, it feels like you’re at a dark bar with wooden floors (do any bars have carpeted floors?) in off-the-beaten-path Arizona that you just went into because you really needed to pee, and then you stay for five drinks because the house band just happened to completely kick ass. And if I were you, I would totally keep coming back so I could be that girl who’s dancing alone up by the stage, singing along with every song. Come on, you know that girl, and even though many of you totally hate her, some part of you loves her too.
Dr. Dog plays with the confidence and sound of a band of 30-year musical veterans as opposed to the relatively new-on-the-hot-scene group that they are.
This set of songs feels a little less produced, and I mean that in the least connotative way possible — don’t think positively, don’t think negatively, I’m just saying. It’s a little more down-home-in-my-garage sounding. This is especially interesting because this album was actually produced and recorded in an official, not-at-home studio with an outside engineer. So take that for what it’s worth.
Seriously, I love bands that let every member sing. It’s so clear that everyone in the group is contributing on every level, and it leaves you with a complete sound full of more instrumental sounds than people, really well developed harmonies, and a spirited listening vibe … if they’re all on board, shouldn’t you be too? At times (“Station” especially) it’s heavy on the country twang (do I hear slide guitar?), which isn’t generally my favorite sound, but it’s cool here. And even the darker songs (“Jackie Wants a Black Eye”) seem a little less dark because of those tight harmonies and that smooth, loping melody. It’s almost more of an accomplishment that the album feels like it lazes along, because it’s so clearly full of so many parts coming together — it’s complicatedly uncomplicated.
Hold on, did Three Dog Night just get back together? “Mirror, Mirror” is almost creepily reminiscent of their sound and harmonies on the chorus. And don’t think I didn’t find it weird that they both are “Dog” bands. Maybe it’s the same dog. I don’t know. No one knows.
Another great thing about these guys is that they love to give away their music for free. Just check out their Facebook page—they have new, unreleased stuff posted there that you can just have. Don’t even feel bad about it. [Or you can get it HERE — ATF posted this a while back.]
All in all (do I end everything I write with “All in all,” or what?), this album will make you hop onto iTunes and find their other work, then wonder how you missed them for so many years. It’s a feel-good, sing-along bunch of songs that will be perfect for when you have your coolest friends over for cocktails. Or take-out if you’re not into cocktails. No judgment here.
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