We All Belong – Dr. Dog

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This five piece from Philly has mastered the art of stripping down and staying simple while dishing out more than enough meat to bite into. The result is a compact album with straightforward lyrics, resolving chord progressions and a rare brand of harmonic layering; lush but never incoherent, complex yet uncluttered. DD’s three-part Beach Boy vocal harmonies are the album’s most successful and unifying element. These harmonies pop and twist in our gut on songs like “Old News”, the title track, “So Easy to Dream but So Hard to Say Goodnight.” Another great track is “Don’t Pretend”, a sexy groove that’s crunchy guitar riffs and funky bass lines are a pleasant brew of Flaming Lips and Otis Redding, a combination that seems to reappear throughout the album in songs like “Ain’t It Strange” and “The way the Lazy Do.” The most successful track was “Die Die Die”, a quirky, nearly heart-wrenching ballad that sings, “I don’t want to die in your arms, I just want to die” and, “every time I thought of you, I smoked a whole pack.” However, at other times, the album forsakes edginess and comes dangerously close to sounding ripe for sitcom theme song syndication. Usually, Dr. Dog quickly rebound with something fresh, usually a lush vocal harmony. Overall, the album sets Dr. Dog firmly in the camp of throwback bands, eschewing the overblown effects and needless complexities cluttering much more “contemporary” sounding stuff. Cheers boys!