It is very un-Scottish to be this poppy and upbeat. In fact,
I am convinced that Dogs Die In Hot Cars is not a Scottish
band at all, but are actually Australians masquerading as Scots.
How else to explain this very non-brooding rock album? Do we immediately
disregard the established mode for Scottish rockers so long established
by acts such as The Jesus And Mary Chain, Therapy?,
and Simple Minds? Even the "pop" music of Trashcan
Sinatras and Teenage Fanclub is nowhere near as sunny
and bright as this. (We, most understandably, leave Rod Stewart
and Franz Ferdinand out of our equation.) The songs on
Please Describe Yourself are up-tempo pop numbers that
instantly recall the more sublimely transcendent moments of XTC,
mixed with the oddly off-kilter pop sensibilities of Danny
Elfman and The Mystic Knights Of Oingo Boingo ("Godhopping").
But going beyond the poppy facade are lyrics of incredible poetry
and depth, sometimes recalling the songs of such lyrical luminaries
as Michael Been. Harmonic content that readily skirts the
edges of early The Fixx albums and juxtaposes that bright
guitar and perfect arrangement style with the radiant pop depth
and subtle brilliance of Bourgeois Tagg and the early days
of Elvis Costello And The Attractions ("Lounger").
There are pure skanking moments of English Beat derived
grooves ("I Love You Cause I Have To") that trade off
easily with tracks filled with the dirty garage ethos of the White
Stripes and the lunacy of Public Image Limited. The
songs are gently off-key at times and the rhythms slightly loose
- just enough to bring the humanity of the recording into sharper
focus and make the songs all the more loveable. There is never
a moment on this album that doesn't grasp the ear and make it
wonder exactly what may be happening.
There is so much sonic territory covered on Please Describe
Yourself that it is hard to really nail this band down and
categorize them as anything other than great rock and roll. My
largest amazement comes from the fact that in a climate of disco-influenced
pop bands, DDIHC steps up and creates a collection of songs that
is musically stable, while being so disparate in sound that the
album never begins to drag
The listener is always on the
edge of their seat waiting to hear what is around the next corner.
And like many great albums, each subsequent listen reveals more
to the songs than was previously realized. This is wholly original
music that pays easy homage to its ancestors without being derivative
or tedious or dull.
Long live the Scots!
1. I Love You 'Cause I Have To
2. Modern Woman
3. Celebrity Sanctum
4. Somewhat Off The Way
5. Apples & Oranges
8. Paul Newman's Eyes
9. Pastimes & Lifestyles
10. Glimpse At The Good Life
11. Who Shot The Baby?
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