Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Album Review: Dr Dog -B-Room

Dr. Dog
****and1/2 out of *****

Dr. Dog are never going to escape the comparisons to The Beatles, The Band or The Beach Boys, but if you are partaking in retro-styled pop/rock why would any band want to? The rolling sounds, easy harmonies and back porch feel continues to flow from B-Room as Dr. Dog just keep making great music.

Opening with "The Truth" the band seems relaxed as they ease into their new home studio via a lounge based swing and lazily perfect vocals. The matching of all voices but particularly the shifting back between co-front men Toby Leaman and Scott McMicken keeps things fresh and alive. "Broken Heart" enjoys "Freedom from the heartache" over a bubbling joyous sound while "Distant Light" spruces up a light march making it triumphant.

"Phenomenon" has violin squiggles as instruments blend and flow together; things seem incredibly democratic in sound and scope. The horns and fuzz come out for excellent "Long Way Down" that is reminiscent of about 100 older songs, but never apes one particularly, a neat trick this band manages to pull off over and over again. Things seem familiar yet new in the same moment. "Cukoo" continues the groups trend of working unrepresented animals into their tunes this time with a funky guitar riff while singing about the clock on the wall, before "Twilight" delicately flutters away. "Rock and Roll" has energy and swagger while disk closers "Love" grooves and "Nellie" gets folksie allowing for a set closing sing along behind a barroom piano.

"Too Weak To Ramble" is a stripped down spiritual highlight of the disk. Basic with just strumming and voices, Leaman and McMicken take away all distractions and let the spotlight shine on vocals and song writing winningly, sometimes less is more. Other then "Too Weak To Ramble" however none of the rest of the tunes approach Dr. Dog's all time best, which could either speak to consistency or a lack of a real shiner, either way, in context the album moves along briskly without any down moments.      
B-Room is titled for their own recording studio the band has built and used, giving them freedom to play with things. Their last release suffered from working without an editor or outside voice to curb some of the excess, here however the band seems at ease, willing to draw back at times or expand as it suites the individual song.  The group interplay is key and as long as this band keeps rolling together we have high hopes for the future of Dr. Dog while the present is pretty damn good too.
Dr Dog are one of RtBE's fav's but we were less then enamored with Be The Void, (that review is actually too kind upon reflection) but we love B-Room and the band in general. Dr. Dog just have it.

Support the band here, buy the album here, and peep some video below:

"Broken Heart"


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