Plumbiferous Media

Shame, Shame - Dr. Dog

Apr 11th 2010
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Shame, Shame - Dr. DogDr. Dog
Shame, Shame
Score: 78

Psych-rock band Dr. Dog released their sixth album, Shame, Shame on the 6th. With Shame, Shame, Dr. Dog takes the clas­sic-rock stylings that have defined its music and devel­ops them into a more unique style, cre­at­ing an album that is often if not always successful.

Dr. Dog’s Toby Lea­man and Scott McMick­en, who share lead vocal duties on Shame, Shame (as well as on most of Dr. Dog’s pre­vi­ous work), stick with a spe­cif­ic clas­sic-rock vocal style through the album - but they know what they’re doing. Both prove them­selves experts at evok­ing the 60s vibe the band exudes, not just in their tone, but in the lit­tle things - bits of empha­sis and bits of tone, like the strained, gen­uine way “Was it a dream? / I would­n’t know” is sung on “Sta­tion.” The band also uses har­mo­ny to great effect, cre­at­ing a rich vocal ele­ment to the tracks where it appears. How­ev­er, as a result of the band’s focus on a cer­tain vocal style, the less-engag­ing tracks can get a bit tire­some by the end, which only com­pounds as it hap­pens on sub­se­quent tracks. 

Dr. Dog large­ly eschews com­plex lyrics in favor of the con­ver­sa­tion­al: “I can’t just sit around and wait / Sit around and wait for you / Nah, just anoth­er cup of cof­fee / I’ll sit around and wait for you.” While this at some points lessens the weight of the music, when, on bet­ter tracks and com­bined with Dr. Dog’s light tone, it works sur­pris­ing­ly well, and so the likes of “Lat­er” (the source of said wait­ing) remain inter­est­ing throughout.

Dr. Dog uses fair­ly sim­ple instru­men­tals, com­bined with a slight lo-fi aes­thet­ic that helps to dis­tin­guish their sound while aid­ing the band’s goal of build­ing their own sort of music. Strong per­cus­sion is com­bined with gui­tar and key­board, both of which do a good job match­ing the tone of the vocals, allow­ing the music to flow as the band seems to have intend­ed. Occa­sion­al issues crop up with tracks that go on just a bit too long, such that they cease to be much more but repet­i­tive, but when most tracks work well (at least for the major­i­ty of their length), this is gen­er­al­ly excusable.

Though Shame, Shame suf­fers from occa­sion­al lacks of diver­si­ty, Dr. Dog gen­er­al­ly uses the com­bi­na­tion of its var­i­ous influ­ences and its own cre­ativ­i­ty well. At its best, Shame, Shame is an inter­est­ing album, fit­ting quite well into the musi­cal mold Dr. Dog has pre­pared for it. At its worst, the album laps­es into rep­e­ti­tion and occa­sion­al­ly begins to lull the lis­ten­er to sleep - but, as it nev­er gets any worse than that, Shame, Shame remains gen­er­al­ly strong.

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