Eighteen months on from mid-table plodder ‘Be The Void’, Pennsylvanian psych-rockers Dr Dog have built themselves a studio and redefined their songwriting process. The result: a revolutionary new sound, littered with allusions to Krautrock and even some splashes of dub reggae.
This would, of course, have been worth a listen, but the rather more depressing truth is that eighth studio album ‘B-Room’ continues the gradual dilution of the small number of actually half-decent musical ideas this band once had.
Music can get inside your head and make you feel truly different; it can tickle your soul and soothe your pain. It can make a statement and change the world.
But ‘B-Room’ almost wilfully scorns this, smoothing off any faintly rough edges to produce an album so utterly beige you can forget you’re even listening to it. ‘Too Weak To Ramble’ lives up to its name, clogging up the middle of the record with a lumpen rhythm and a growling monotone.
The band’s guitarist, Scott McMicken, talks with pride of how the horn flourishes here owe a debt to soul music, a genre which, to him, sounds “intuitive rather than intellectual,” a statement which is both depressingly reductive and a rather fitting encapsulation of what is wrong with this record.
Said soulful parps sit atop muddy drums conjuring a sense of a very tired Black Keys being played at slightly the wrong speed. Made with no new thoughts, and based on what they know so well, ‘B-Room’ is offensively inoffensive.
Words: Gareth James
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Clash’s new Pop Issue, featuring a wealth of lovely pop (obviously), is out now – go get yourself some.
Stream ‘B-Room’ for yourself via Deezer, below…