A.V. Club Most Read

News Newswire Great Job, Internet!
TV Club All Reviews What's On Tonight
Video All Video A.V. Undercover A.V. Undercover: The Day Of The Dead The Hi-Lo Food Show
Reviews All Reviews Film TV Music Books
Features All Features Staff Picks Newswire
Sections Film Tv Music Food Comedy Books Games Aux
Our Company About Us Contact Advertise Privacy Policy Careers RSS
Onion Inc. Sites The Onion The A.V. Club ClickHole Onion Studios

Dr. Dog: We All Belong

B

Dr. Dog

Album: We All Belong
Label: Park The Van

Community Grade (1 User)

  • A
  • A-
  • B+
  • B
  • B-
  • C+
  • C
  • C-
  • D+
  • D
  • D-
  • F

Your Grade

?

It's easy to sound sloppy but hard to make sloppy sound right. But that's just what Philadelphia's Dr. Dog did on the 2005 album Easy Beat, a shambolic collection of psychedelic pop that owed more to the laid-back, harmony-friendly sounds of '60s pop than the garage bands everyone else was trying to imitate at the time. Dr. Dog's full-length follow-up, We All Belong, continues a practice of melding hi-fi ambition to lo-fi realties. Songs unfold with a scope that would keep Brian Wilson happy but with all the apparent tightness of a second take. With a bit more time and a bit more of a budget it might sound cleaner but it probably wouldn't sound as good.

The laziness is just a stylistic choice anyway. Spend any time with We All Belong's winning songs about wonderment, disappointment, and packing up and moving on and you'll find a lot of work. The fuzzy guitar solos might sound off-the-cuff and the drum fills a little muffled but there's a deliberateness to the way they're placed that's as thoughtful as the sweet harmonies and sleigh-bells. We All Belong creates the illusion a bunch of guys sitting around thinking up songs based on their parents' best records, throwing in what worked without discriminating between doo-wop and The Band. It's a strong, illusion, too. When the song "Alaska" hits the line "the dog is barking out back / he thinks he's in the band" it raises the real possibility he'll show up on the next track.

Dr. Dog began as an offshoot of another band then slowly built a reputation opening for everyone My Morning Jacket to The Raconteurs. Its low-key pleasures may make it an excellent opening act, but if Dr. Dog keeps putting out albums like this the band may underachieve their way into stardom.