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Dr. Dog
We All Belong
Park The Van Records

The latest, greatest thing to emerge from Philadelphia is an album from a young band called Dr. Dog. We All Belong is Dr. Dog's brilliant attempt to capture the psychedelic sound of the 60's with well-built songwriting, pop hooks, and low-fi recording techniques.

Like Band Of Bees, Dr. Dog doesn't just write retro songs, they match the production values, as well. The first track, "Old News" (possibly their strongest song) opens with studio chatter, fake vinyl hiss, and a tight choir of "la-la-la" harmonies. Most of the vocals are treble heavy, typical of the era that Dr. Dog focuses on so much. The group's harmonies blend together incredibly as the punchy bass and washing cymbals sound as if they're coming straight from an old record player.

While referencing the 40-year-old bands that have inspired them, Dr. Dog manages to avoid the "rip-off artist" branding by the sheer quality of their songwriting. Each song curves back and forth until it opens up into a loose, psychedelic-pop party with catchy chord changes and sweet Beatles' harmonies. There's never a dull moment in this 38-minute disc and multiple listens only make it stronger and leave you wanting more.

"Alaska" (also possibly the album's strongest track) shows the group's strength for ballads. The country guitar riffs show strong influences of The Band and the lyrics drive it home: "The dog is barking out back / he thinks he's in the band / trying to get this fire started / and I could really use a hand."

It's apparent that the group made good use of multi-tracking on their debut record. With a good pair of headphones, you'll hear bird chirps layered on top of hand percussion while clanking bottles lurk in the background. Among the many influences, there also seems to be a tinge of Queen in their song structure, guitar solos, and harmonies. Every song has an adequate sense of build and release. The best example of this is the last track "We All Belong" (very likely, the album's strongest track) which closes the record with an amazing orchestral climax.

Aside from their connections with My Morning Jacket, Dr. Dog is a band on the way up. They've found a fresh sound (sort of) and done a remarkable job producing it themselves. But more importantly, they have a mass of new listeners asking, "Who are these guys?"

-Jon Murray

Track Listing:
1. Old News
2. My Old Ways
3. Don't Pretend
4. The Girl
5. Alaska
6. Weekend
7. Ain't It Strange
8. Worst Trip
9. The Way The Lazy Do
10. Die Die Die
11. We All Belong

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