Monday, June 23, 2008

Reviews:: Dr. Dog Fate

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The aptly titled The Old Days only needs 3:41 to show why Dr. Dog is probably the most impressive of today's bands that sample from the greats that shaped music. The piano heavy, fuzz filled freak out track is McCartney-esque, especially when the band strips everything away aside from the plunked out piano line at the 1:40 mark, but the song never apes his style.

Countless bands try to mix the same ingredients, but when Dr. Dog uses a quick change of pace and energy (making the song destined to become an extended, sweat enduing fan favorite), they put their own stamp on the elements. It's a great mix of sugary pop and muscle and the way the band has evolved from lo-fi to lush compositions is remarkable.

Hang On
touches on goodness we crave from acts like The Band and hits on that jam session vibe that so many acts try (unsuccessfully) to recreate and in doing so, shows how countless years of touring have given Dr. Dog the chops to pull these songs effortlessly. Trying to find your own sound and inspiration when you are rooted in the past is not something that can happen overnight and while they excel and transporting a listener to a time long since gone, what makes Dr. Dog stand out is how easily they add modern elements to the mix.

Sure, they have a terrific appreciation of the past, but never seem confined by it and instead of rehashing classic riffs, they are completely comfortable jumping headlong into fuzzy instrumentation and new textures that dance overtop, along side and underneath the tried and true goodness from the 60's and 70's.

As the band questions God's choices on The Ark, guitar blasts, feedback and atmosphere contrast the Lennon-esque vocals pushing it into 2008 instead of forcing the song back into the early 70's. The opening track, The Breeze, starts as a lo-fi pop track full of sunshine and warmth, but slowly and assuredly, the band adds layer after layer and finds a groove as fresh as I've heard this year. The shocking addition of horns and strings that end Uncovering the Old is just another terrific wrinkle.

Lyrically, the songs are more timeless than dated. Often making strong points with simple words, hearing Scott Toby ask,"why you think we need amazing grace, just to tell it like it is" isn't Earth shattering, but the simple point holds true. Rather than turning phrase after phrase, the songs hit on a more honest level and although the band calls the album Fate - and a mild obsession with destiny and time is obvious in the subject matter - lyrically, the strongest track (The Ark) poses the religious queries that have plagued man for years and makes you wonder if they could have called it Faith.

Obviously, I'm a big fan of this record and by a quick scan of the internet, I'm not the only one. Still, sometimes the masses all agree, and if the masses hear tracks like My Friend and The Breeze, it's hard to imagine anyone not believing in Fate.

Posted at 2:19 PM by ack :: 2 comments

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At 3:39 PM, Anonymous taco chippy did sayeth:

Awesome, but it's Toby Leaman of Dr. Dog who sings "why you think we need amazing grace, just to tell it like it is"!


At 7:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous did sayeth:

Great Review!! "Fate" IS fantastic....


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