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Dr. Dog

Takers and Leavers

(Park the Van; US: 12 Sep 2006; UK: Available as import)

These Philadelphia boys have earned a cult reputation because of their DIY ‘60s-style psychedelic atmospherics. They deliver self-consciously silly, pseudo-intellectual lyrics, often in three-part vocal harmony backed by clanging tambourines, pounding drums, and tasty electric guitar riffs and/or a melodic piano. Five guys and six songs equals 23½ minutes of rambling, lo-fidelity pop. The EP is fun in a goofy way. The disc is reminiscent of making up lyrics and singing along to an oldies station while driving up and down mountains as the reception fades, comes back strong and fades again.  Strains of the Beach Boys and the Beatles are certainly evident on the EP, but Dr. Dog’s refusal to take things seriously gets wearying. Sure, the earnestness of Brian Wilson and George Harrison can be hard to take. These old hippies make easy targets. Dr. Dog is best when playing things straight and seem to know it. The final minute and half of the last song, “Livin’ a Dream”, asks the listener to live in the present instead of romanticizing the past; to learn from history rather than just buy into it uncritically. Right on.

Rating:

Steven Horowitz has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Iowa, where he continues to teach a three-credit online course on "Rock and Roll in America". He has written for many different popular and academic publications including American Music, Paste and the Icon. Horowitz is a firm believer in Paul Goodman's neofunctional perspective on culture and that Sam Cooke was right, a change is gonna come.


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Dr. Dog - Fools Life
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