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
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?"
1. Old News
2. My Old Ways
3. Don't Pretend
4. The Girl
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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