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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