Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Dr. Dog - Shame, Shame
Standing on top of the clouds, looking down on the land below in contemplative peace would be the proper way to listen to “Unbearable Why,” one of the best songs on Dr. Dog’s new album. Though lead vocalist Scott McMicken’s falsetto warns that the eye of the storm approaches, swirling double harmonies and minimalist 4-chord piano plunking seep into a breezy ‘60s beach vibe. As the Philadelphia-based quintet switches to a new record label and feels the mounting pressures of touring, Shame, Shame takes a few turns for the melancholy. McMicken wrote the laid-back “Shadow People” as he grew exhausted of the quirky characters and places in West Philly. Troubles and ashamed confessions culminate into a huddled cry on the title track, an emotional catharsis where the vocals ooze with honesty and the bass drips with sadness. Lines like "I used to wander the streets at midnight/avoiding any signs of life" paint a grim picture. Yet, in traditional Dr. Dog fashion, layers of gooey reverb, feel-good guitar riffs, and playful hi-hat overshadow the doom. In the band’s first try at recording outside their home studio, Shame, Shame has more polish. The airy, thrown-together vibe remains, and it’s as enjoyable as ever.