Dig Dug: Pop Trio of the Week


By Patrick Schabe

If you’ve got a little garage band and you’re thinking about breaking up because there’s no chance you’ll ever land a record deal, don’t despair! Dig Dug proves that there’s hope for everyone who can figure out a few chords and a simple beat to get signed. In fact, with the state of music today, they prove that anyone could be the next big thing.

There’s something pretentious about Dig Dug that pretty much eliminates any serious consideration of the band. At first I thought the title of the album was a clever, ironic poke at the music industry. Now I’m pretty convinced that it was a desperate plea to be just that, the “Pop Trio of the Week.” Maybe it’s the fact that they go to great lengths to provide lyrics to their songs in the CD sleeve, but then make them so illegible that they laughingly have to include a little note to write the record company for the lyrics.

But the music, man, what about the music?! Not much better than the cover art design, unfortunately. When Material Issue had the balls to name their debut album International Pop Overthrow, they at least had solid songs and a true pop ability to back them up. When Dig Dug called their album Pop Trio of the Week, they insulted pop musicians everywhere. Dig Dug is pretty much the standard two to two-and-a-half minute pop/punk songwriting that you expect from opening bands at a dollar concert. Straightforward guitar rock with steady distortion and generic beats works for a lot of bands, but at least a few of those bands attempt to take a creative approach to the whole endeavor. I doubt Dig Dug has ever heard of a hook, and I doubt they care.

Vocally, this album is at its most annoying. Singers Lucas and Matt, strain their voices to achieve a grating mixture of angst and anger that is so obviously forced that the only way the mix only sustains the vocal tracks by making them painfully prominent. I’m not a purist when it comes to singing. Hey, I actually enjoy listening to Jello Biafra sing! But that doesn’t mean that I need an album of whining and weak-ass screaming. A couple of time on this album, Dig Dug try to break out of their mold, like on the song “Photogenic,” but whatever may have been catchy about the tune evaporates as soon as they start “singing.”

If this is the state of punk music today, take me back to the punk/pop of Green Day or even the broken beer bottle fun of the ‘80s. Seriously, if you want a justification for this album’s existence, it’s the perfect record to annoy the hell out of your neighbors. ‘Nuff said.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/digdug-pop/