The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday December 2nd

Music Review: Dr. Dog

Philadelphia’s Dr. Dog has been through the indie rock trenches, surviving for over a decade as a revolving cast of musicians, while somehow keeping a consistent sound and continuing to explore new sonic territory with each release.

For its latest album, Be The Void, the band chose to return to its unpolished rock roots, giving the album a live feel through its lack of heavy production. The band also added multi-instrumentalist Dimitri Manos and percussionist Eric Slick to its lineup, so there’s the fresh feel of a band finding each other in the studio.

Dr. Dog
Be The Void
Indie Rock

Dive Verdict: 2.5 of 5 stars

The Beck-inspired “Lonesome” starts the album off in the right direction with its acoustic slide guitar, heavy beats and sing-along chorus. “That Old Black Hole” has trouble finding its footing, however, with spinning synths and bongos starting off the song before it meanders into a fast-paced country stomper.

Most of the tracks on this album suffer from this identity crisis that’s first seen on “That Old Black Hole.” It’s great when a band can fuse two, or several, different styles together in one song, but the formula just doesn’t work throughout Be The Void.

Dr. Dog does find a nice balance on “Heavy Light,” which descends into a piano breakdown before exploding into a multi-layered psychedelic treat, complete with sitar melodies competing with bent-note guitars.

The band covers a lot of ground musically on this album and each track feels fresh and unique, but disconnected as a whole. Tracks such as “Lonesome,” and “How Long Must I Wait,” which really have their own identities, shine more so than the tracks that attempt to meander through several song styles.

As with all of Dr. Dog’s records, there is great songwriting present, but it would have been nice if each track had a little bit more room to breathe. This band is a delight to see live, so hopefully it will take some more time with these tracks as it takes them to the stage.

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