Thursday, January 7, 2010

Dr. Dog- We All Belong

    “Man, the 60’s were such a hip, groovy time; peace and love man, like, when shit gets too heavy, you gotta just go with the flow, man, like, just feel the music, brother”. If these are things you’ve ever thought or said, do yourself a favor and pick up Dr. Dog’s We All Belong, it will be a serious boost to your spiritual groove. Throw your parents’ record collection in a blender and made liberal use of the ‘frappé’ setting, and amongst the sound of shattering vinyl, you just might hear a track of two of this record.

    Be warned: We All Belong may cause extreme nostalgia for a time period you may or may not have lived through. Even on the first listen, songs on this record felt familiar, immediately producing the necessary number of jiggawatts to throw me back to my Beatles-filled childhood. But beneath the happy remembrances, there’s a certain soullessness in the music- these guys, passionate as they may be, are doing their best impressions of a handful of styles that were already strip-mined by more popular bands forty years prior, putting Dr. Dog in the regrettable category of ‘revisionists’. Vocals span from the ‘my throat is so dusty, since I just got off my motorcycle’ southern groan, to a decent John Lennon impression sans-English accent, and even some falsetto parts which recall Wayne Coyne. All the while, the rest of the band submits multi-layered Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young harmony to fill out each track.

    “My Old Ways” is nearly a Pet Sounds B-side, shimmering with that lost-and-found California beach vibe, and the verse riff on “Alaska” is a tumbleweed “Hey Joe”. McCartney bass turns rise and fall through “Keep a Friend”, followed by “The Girl”, which is another attempt to sublimate stale Beatlemania. “I don’t ever want to go back/ To the old days/ Leaving the dead underground”. Apparently the irony of their lines is utterly lost on them.

    The bottom line here is that, while the music Dr. Dog make is well-crafted, they are fighting an uphill battle. Not only are they very clearly taking their cues from older bands, without really adding any new food for thought, but their influences come from bands who have entered the ‘cannon’- bands who’s auras have outgrown their body of work. Dr. Dog wrote themselves into second-class band status from the get-go, and they don’t disappoint.

We All Belong

No comments:

Post a Comment