Many moons ago, I was an obsessive jets to Brazil/Jawbreaker fan. There was something about Blake Schwarzenbach’s words that I connected with on a very deep level.
In 2003, the band released their final record (the fabulous Perfecting Loneliness) and on first listen, the end results were jarring. When you considered the raw sound and emotion of Unfun, songs like “Cat Heaven” or “Psalm” seemed completely foreign.
The thing is, Perfecting Loneliness was not a rehash of a tested formula or a singularity in terms of creativity. It was a well thought out, and deserved victory lap. A final step in a quite natural and organic progression. Fade Out, the new release from Halifax’s Dog Day, accomplishes the same remarkable feat.
Dog Day has never suffered from lack of critical acclaim or dedicated fans. In terms of Halifax royalty, the duo ranks alongside donair sauce and Joel Plaskett, but the band’s progression is rarely discussed. Without question, Fade Out is a fine tuning of the raw energy; a musical interpretation of the disconnect we all feel. The harmonies and noise offer the same frightening chill Smith and Urich seem to be able to channel effortlessly, but these songs show a maturation in sound. Fade Out finds Dog Day dressed in their Sunday bests, but the duo never sacrificing the energy and slop that started turning heads so many years ago.
You’ll excuse the analogy considering what Smith has been focused on lately, but Fade Out manages to transport the shock, gore and terror normally reserved for B-movie screenings to a larger audience. The purity of the genre is maintained, but hints of classic rock, shimmering guitar work (“Joyride” & “Get High”) and soft focused beauty (“Before Us”, which might be the most beautiful song the band has ever written) all help Dog Day connect resonate with a bigger audience.
Thankfully, unlike JTB, Dog Day isn’t going anywhere. If anything, Before Us hints that Fade Out might be a turning point for the band, a rare chance to shed the shackles of expectations and past output and find true creative freedom. The unique chance for fans to look back happily, and remain excited for what’s next.
WEB:: Dog Day