The good doctor returns with another fine installment of lo-fi indie pop to keep you moving. Picking up close on the heels of 2010’s Shame, Shame, the boys from Philadelphia have added a little more psychedelic swirl to these songs and managed to hold on to their street cred. There are several things that propel this record, and I believe the trading vocals of Toby Leaman and Scott McMicken could be the secret weapon of Dr. Dog.
Sound is a huge part of this album with the worship of 60’s pop and that upbeat keyboard vibe. Despite how upbeat the music is coming from the band, those vocals have another message waiting underneath. When Leaman takes over, the songs sound so sincere and honest with his small voice guiding you to shore, even though his songs sound the saddest. McMicken’s voice might be a little louder while he wears his heart on his sleeve, but his songs can be just as sad. For some reason, and I haven’t figured out why, Avid Reader, the sadness is what draws me back to this group — and the way they know how to twist phrases or make you grin using clever wordplay.
If you have a chance to watch live clips of the band, you can see they have a fun time on stage working together to create their art; yet they sound so sad at times. This reinforces the point that some of the best songs might sound gracious and happy, yet they are about more serious and heavy matters. Don’t get me wrong, they do have some fun songs, but the sad ones get me every time. I think I’m a sap for a sad tune, and maybe we all are from time to time. If a band can get you to shout a sad song in the car with your windows rolled down, then I think they have done their job very well.
Check out: “Vampire”, “That Old Black Hole”, “Big Gir”, “Heavy Light”,”Warrior Man” and my favorite “Lonesome”. There are some echoes of Easy Beat and We All Belong throughout, yet the direction they seem to be moving in suits them well. If you are looking for an easy going record with a few gems, this is just what the doctor ordered, so take one and call me in the morning.