Saturday, January 24, 2009


Hey everyone! I'm back and ready for action! Thanks for all the kind thoughts and well-wishes and what-not. We have some of the greatest readers here at Whale in a Cubicle. No really, I mean that. You're the best.

So this is an album that was on my 'To Check Out' list for most of last year, but I just never quite got around to it. Then, after Christmas I was in a little surf shop in California to make an exchange and saw this sitting there at the check-out for $9.99 + a 20% discount. Well, I couldn't resist. And man am I glad I didn't. It served as my soundtrack for the next week or so of the Holiday Break - which is a real easy way to build a positive association with an album. Add to the equation that I was already listening to a ton of The Beatles and Beach Boys, and you'll see why I fell so hard for this one.

The band is Dr. Dog, and the record is Fate, the fifth album from these Philadelphia rockers. 'The Breeze' kicks off the album with simple acoustic finger-picking, piano and lilting vocals which might make you think you have these guys pegged, until all-of-a-sudden the melody gets wrapped up in background vocals and strutting bass and drums. Then enter some airy studio ornamentation to accompany the outro line "The breeze will blow us all away!" and you might just sit back and wonder where this album is headed. I did. And I'll be honest, I was thrilled with where it went.

60's pop is definitely a heavy influence here (think The Band and the more psychadelic side of The Beatles), but not without picking up some tips from some 70's groups (I heard a lot of Crosby, Stills and Nash on here), and some talented contemporaries (Wilco, Fleet Foxes and Conor Oberst come to mind). In fact the whole album plays like a gleeful name-that-influence, as if these talented pack-rats found everything they liked about pop music from the past 40 years and mixed it into their already colorful palette. It really is a blast.

The production is heavy on every track - making full use of any strings, horns and other atmospherics they could get their hands on (see 'The Rabbit, The Bat, & The Reindeer' below). It's the kind of heavy production that would sink lesser songs, but the melodies and arrangements here are tight enough that these songs not only stay afloat; they sail merrily into the sunset, with me humming along the whole way. So if you, like me, were late in checking this one out - don't wait any longer!

Dr. Dog - The Breeze
from the album Fate (Amazon/iTunes)

Dr. Dog - The Rabbit, the Bat, & The Reindeer
from the album Fate (Amazon/iTunes)

1 comment:

Ty said...

i have this album on vinyl, i love it