Dr. Dog - Be The Void

When they’re good, they are glorious
Dr. Dog - Be The Void
Having pursued a smooth and soulful sound on 2010’s ‘Shame, Shame’, the 2012 incarnation of Dr. Dog returns to their more customary shambling psychedelic pop approach, with hooks aplenty and a fondness for brash enthusiasm over studio polish. It’s largely endearing stuff and ‘Lonesome’ produces the instantly memorable hooky refrain “what does it take to be lonesome? Nothing at all,” which will serve as your new earworm for at least a week after initial exposure. ‘Do The Trick’ is a bouncy piano anthem, all swooning backing vocals and gentle lyrical clichés: “I count the days as they pass me by”, while ‘Over Here, Over There’ has a frenetic pop-punk pulse which could perfectly soundtrack the slightly inadequate walk of a hipster with their jeans half-way down their arse, but probably won’t win any song of the year awards.

This slightly throwaway quality is what sometimes hinders ‘Be The Void’. While the impulsive nature of the recording undoubtedly leads to some fine moments of euphoric pop, the rough-around-the-edges feel results in moments of filler, where a little more precision would have gone a long way. The diluted glam of ‘Warrior Man’ is crying out for a moment to send it into orbit, while album closer ‘Turning The Century’ comes across like an early Gomez B-side, all muffled vocals and wanky sitar noodling. When they’re good, they are glorious and their enthusiasm is infectious, this band thrive when live but perhaps there’s a little too much padding filling the, er, void.

7/10

Words by GARETH JAMES

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