Friday August 22nd 2008, 6:16 pm
Fine Tuning: Dr Dog’s “Fate”
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If you bother to read reviews for music online, perhaps you’ve noticed that Dr. Dog’s latest album, Fate, is drawing alot of …um, well… comparisons. The AV Club dismissed it as a mash-up of the Beatles and the Band. iTunes claimed a cross between the Beatles and the Beach Boys. Pitchfork said… well, let’s just say someone is a crabby apple. Say what you will about Dr. Dog, but critics LOVE to ponder how they arrived at their sound.

Dr Dog- Hang On (from Fate)

It is an easy game to play, largely because this album is immediately comfortable and does, in fact, have an unmistakably reminiscent sound. I, however, am going to resist the temptation to draw comparisons and instead relate a concept a friend of mine named the Catapult: many good bands start by reminding us of a previous genre, band, or a particular time period. The better of these bands develop this sound over time and pull it into something entirely new and great. The rest beat the dead horse until they disappear. In theory, the Catapult should explain the rise of The White Stripes versus, say, the (sad) demise of Wolfmother.

Dr Dog- My Old Ways (from 2007’s We All Belong)

Why mention the Catapult? To me, Fate is the album where Dr. Dog may catapult themselves to greatness. Their music has always been likable and well constructed, but hardly ground breaking. They have clearly benefited from touring with the likes of Wilco, the Raconteurs, and My Morning Jacket over the last few years. The band has retained some of their majestic harmonies, complex accompaniments and warm back-up vocals of the past, but then layered these elements into songs that carry a much tighter and clearer narrative voice. The result is still fun and approachable, but (gasp!) unique. This album sounds much more like Dr. Dog’s cousins, and much less like their family tree.

Dr Dog- The Old Days (Live on Conan)

In conclusion, buy this album! It is chock full of intricate and sunny melodies. My hands-down favorite song is “The Beach”. It is minimal and darker than most of their music, but it is also superb. Another stand out single is “The Old Days” with a style that is downright avant-garde compared to the band’s usual sound. “The Rabbit, The Bat & The Reindeer”, “Uncovering the Old”, and “My Friend” are another three to try that will please you seasoned Dr. Dog fans out there. This is one of the best albums of 2008 so far and I dare say it’s a shoe in for our end of the year Top 10 List. – Dave Harmon

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amazing album

Comment by Testi 03.14.11 @ 5:35 pm

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