Words by Dennis Ruhlin
Dr. Dog has spent over a decade developing and refining their sound, and their latest album, B-Room, doesn’t shy away from it. Their new studio, built into an abandoned silversmith factory in Philadelphia, in a way, echoes the band’s approach. There’s no frills, no tricks… it’s what’s necessary, and that’s it.
That is in no way is a diss on the Philly masterminds. In fact, take it as the opposite. Dr. Dog makes damn fine music, and this is no exception. Take the track ‘The Truth’: it’s classic Dr. Dog. It’s a tune you’re sure to hear at their next show, and you’ll know every word by then.
This album is pure Dr. Dog to the bone. As usual, Scott McMicken and Toby Leaman take turns trading off tracks that differ drastically, yet mesh together in an interconnected way as we progress throughout the album. Other stand out tracks include ‘Broken Heart’, ‘Distant Light’, ‘Long Way Down’, and the rambling 1970’s-inspired tune ‘Rock & Roll’.
Notably different however, is the sparse ‘Too Weak to Ramble’. Toby and an acoustic guitar lay down one of the most personal tracks yet with disheartening lyrics like “Too low to get up | Too weak to try | Too drunk to stagger | Too gone to lie | I always told myself I’d make it out of here alive”. The desolation in his lyrics are surprising in the middle of this otherwise upbeat and enjoyable album.
Having said that, none of the songs break the mold of what we expect from Dr. Dog, and honestly, I find it very refreshing. Fans rejoice, there’s no experimental sound, or concept album to be worried about. B-Room is Dr. Dog doing what they do best, and absolutely nailing it.
© September 30th, 2013
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