Philadelphia’s Dr. Dog combine Paul McCartney and Beach Boys influences with the ramshackle American lo-fi of Pavement and Guided By Voices. A sound that guarantees melodies, harmonies and a bit of craziness. Critical Equation is their tenth album and is available on LP and CD on We Buy Gold Records.
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Dr Dog always reminds me of my friend David out in Minnesota. I hope and trust he's still alive but I wouldn't be surprised at all if he's not. He discovered Dr Dog because he liked the name. To me the name is awful - I mean I like dogs and doctors have my full admiration but a dog that's a doctor? Not a chance.
So I'm pretty interested in hearing what Dr Dog are doing now and it's almost exactly what i imagined them to be doing. It's a darker and funkier take on what they were doing which I guess was in the Beach Boys/ Beatles influenced scheme of things. It sounds like they might have had the sort of same trajectory of bands like Spoon and Of Montreal in that their jangling classicism has been replaced by more electronic influenced tight rock with nods to same kind of funk Beck has access to.
Critical Equation is therefore kind of enjoyable. There are lots of synths which I'm not overly sure about but when songs are as fresh as 'Virginia Please' it's not too much of a problem. It just seems like a crowded marketplace Dr Dog are competing in, loads of bands sound like this and their songs aren't so good that they rise above it. However Dr Dog do seem to appeal to what I'd call the 'Pitchfork lot' - people who like Okkervil River, the War on Drugs etc. Their songs are bright and bouncy without knocking your sock off. But that's what Spoon do too and they do alright.
After 10 years it seems they still have plenty of ideas knocking about.
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