Dr. Dog is five guys from Philly who’ve listened to more than their share of Beatles and Beach Boys. It’s not a bad thing. In the context of the band, their names are Tables, Taxi, Text, Triumph, and Thanks (no, really!) so identifying who’s playing what is challenging.
This is hard music to describe. Songs like “My Old Ways” are driven by piano and great vocals. “Keep a Friend” is a soul ballad with a slightly distorted guitar beating out rhythms and harmonized guitars carrying it out. “The Girl” is an odd mix of sounds that at times crosses a Tom Waits-like vocal with big, heavy guitar sounds, with the Beatles. The odd party song, “Weekend” has semi-orchestral guitar parts. “Worst Trip” is a highlight, with its jazzy horns, cool changes, and guitar parts that alternate between dissonant cacophony and a lovely harmonized solo, then go back to dissonance.
The band’s lo-fi approach sounds like it was recorded in the ’60s or early ’70s. It’s not at all primitive – it sounds gorgeous – but the feel is different than a lot of young bands today. Old coots like me will love the influences of the masters, while the oddities of the record invite younger listeners.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Jul ’07 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.