Friday, February 10, 2012

Album Review: "Be the Void" by Dr. Dog

Be The Void was released on February 7, 2012 by Anti- Records
With so many new releases so far in early 2012, it would be understandably difficult for any one of them to stand out from the pack. Thankfully, bands exist that have never really cared about "the pack" and continued to charge bravely on doing what they do best. We have one such band in the resilient Philly-based freak-folk outfit known as Dr. Dog. Be the Void is their 6th studio effort and the second released by indie giant Anti- Records, who helped push their last release Shame, Shame to widespread recognition. Thought they're not really a household name (yet), Dr. Dog's burgeoning popularity seems to grow stronger by the second, and it's not at all undeserved.

On Be the Void, the group have clearly tried to make a more raw, visceral record to encompass the unmistakable energy of their live performances. In the process, they've created a cohesive album that expands their already impressive repertoire. Dr. Dog have managed to hone their weird, not-quite folk but not-quite-rock, psychedelic 60's throwback sound into an art form all its own. The crew never seems to rest in their quest to mature and develop their unique style, but manage to experiment with something new at every possible opportunity. This time around, we have the searing Southern rock of "These Days" and "Vampire" juxtaposed against funky gems like "How Long Must I Wait?"and "That Old Black Hole." The record is full of little touches that add to the live atmosphere the band tried to create; I was particularly fond of the frequent use of hand drums, most noticeable "Heavy Light" on "That Old Black Hole." Despite going for a more passionate, natural sound, it's obvious that a lot of care and thought went into the production to create a truly one-of-a-kind experience.

I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that Be the Void is Dr. Dog's best recording to date (keep in mind, this is coming from someone who's been paying attention since 2006's Takers and Leavers EP). Right from the powerfully simple first track, it grabs you and doesn't let up for the album's entire duration. If you're anything like me, you'll be enamored at first listen, hooked at the second, and singing along by the third. There's nothing not to love here.

Rating: 9.6/10
Standout Tracks: "How Long Must I Wait?", "Do The Trick", "Heavy Light"

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