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Dogs Die In Hot Cars
Please Describe Yourself
V2 Records

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!

-Embo Blake

Track Listing:
1. I Love You 'Cause I Have To
2. Modern Woman
3. Celebrity Sanctum
4. Somewhat Off The Way
5. Apples & Oranges
6. Godhopping
7. Lounger
8. Paul Newman's Eyes
9. Pastimes & Lifestyles
10. Glimpse At The Good Life
11. Who Shot The Baby?

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