Music Feature

Review: Dr. Dog Bring It Back Home With "Be The Void"

by Ryan O'Connell
Dr. Dog and the re-defining of what a party jam is.

A Google search of the ten best party jams out there right now does not include one rock ‘n roll band. That’s fine, but it’s not totally acceptable. You can’t knock the rock ‘n roll, especially when it comes to those luscious party jams we hold dear.

Enter Dr. Dog.
Dr. Dog from Philadelphia?
Yes sir.
I don’t know if I would call any of their songs a party jam.
Well you haven’t heard "Be The Void" then.

Be the Void is the Philly six piece band’s latest album and instead of hoping aboard a catapult and heading off into big rock sounding studio territory after their last album, Shame, Shame, was so well received, they went back in time. Dr. Dog went back to 2005, when they released Easy Beat, an album recorded in lo-fi, do-it-yourself bliss. The end result is an album so alive, so full of sound and so undeniably infectious that it re-defines what you, me, and anyone else might consider a party jam.

Be the Void is the soundtrack to a get loud, get rowdy, get uninhibited apocalypse stare down dance off.

This is the band’s second album on Anti Records and their first with their sixth member, the multi-instrumentalist Dimitri Manos. But Dr. Dog is still very much driven by it’s two founding members and co-lead vocalists- bass player Toby Leaman and guitarist Scott McMicken. Everything you love about Dr. Dog comes along for the ride on Be the Void- the harmonies, rootsy and organic undertones and blooming pop sensibilities.

“Lonesome” opens the album with rustic sounding guitars and background vocals begging the listener to join in. It’s followed by “That Old Black Hole” which features a sinisterly wicked rumbling bass line and McMicken singing “I don’t wanna fight, but I’m constantly ready/and I don’t wanna rock the boat, but it’s always unsteady.” Other highlights are “Do the Trick,” “How Long Must I Wait,” “Vampire,” “Warrior Man.”

Be the Void has the fresh air of a band comfortable with itself, producing a self-confident album and enjoying the luxury and relaxed confines of recording things yourself. There aren’t two songs that sound the same, but there is a unifying tone to it that makes it that much easier to listen to. It’s a multi-situation album- so good and perfect for road trips, study breaks, hangovers, sports-watching, hi-jinx indulging, belly flops, barbeques, bowling nights and cocktail parties.

Just like a Leatherman, there aren’t many situations out there that Be the Void isn’t perfect for.

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