Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dr. Dog Shame, Shame 2010

There is a place somewhere smack in the middle of a continuum that starts at Spoon and ends at Marshall Crenshaw, passing through the Beatles, Mott The Hoople and the Hollies along the way. That place is this Dr. Dog record.

At times it's the great guitarist. Then some other time a great piano line. Quite a few times when you notice the perfect bass line. Solid drumming, especially when it almost falls apart, but not really. Interesting lyrics. Strong melodies and hook-filled choruses. Remarkably perfect harmonies abound.

There are psychedelic touches, some that echo Magical Mystery Tour-era Beatles, or Odessa by the Bee Gees, but they never overwhelm the underlying tune-smithery at work. These are well-written, particularly well arranged and produced songs that display excellent structure and maintain a very high level of melodic quality. It's smart stuff. You can listen to it and not be doing anything else (this is an interesting idea, no?) And it is fun, too.

Today's thinking and dancing man's pop-rock. Hey, XTC are gone, but these crazy dudes from Philly might just have some of those same twitchy guitar figures and funky backbeats. The record makes me keep thinking of Spoon, except I don't have to work so hard to enjoy it. And it is more pop. And that's good.

I could give you the play-by-play, but there are too many highlights, and I'd end up repeating superlatives. I put a big plus sign in front of eight of the eleven songs, and I had positive notes about the other three.

Very highly recommended. Available on vinyl if you're so inclined.

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