By Kelly Pivarnik
Dr. Dog released their sixth full-length album Shame, Shame this past week to strong reviews from critics, though this album did not stray too much from the band’s previously successful formula.
Though classified by most as “psychedelic rock,” the album sounds more like an upbeat indie-pop album, with vocals that sound like Jeff Tweedy of Wilco and music that resembles Brendan Benson and the early Beatles.
Unfortunately, the world does not need another hipster band like Animal Collective claiming to be “experimental.” Luckily in Shame, Shame, Dr. Dog shows a little more promise and originality than the rest of the modern day LSD-inspired indie bands.
Though the music is less than impressive and not very progressive for Dr. Dog, the lyrics are substantial, particularly in the song “Shadow People.” Co-frontman Toby Leaman told the press the song was mainly about the West Philadelphia scene.
The song starts with Leaman’s wondering, sincere voice singing, “It’s the right night for the wrong company.” Despite the cheery music, the lyrics in this song, and on the rest of the album, suggest something more depressing and melancholy. It suggests empty meaning in Leaman’s social scene, “And I know what the look upon her face meant. Something’s gone from her eye.”
Dr. Dog’s other vocalist, Scott McMicken, wrote and sang the song “Station,” on Shame, Shame. Originally meant to be placed on a previous album, this is McMicken’s only song written about touring. The song is reminiscent of the Wilco album Sky Blue Sky, in that, despite the band’s attempt to inject soul and blues into their music, the song just turns out boring. The song may have meant to be mellow, but unless the listener is really into Dr. Dog, they are bound to lose interest.
The album’s title track, “Shame, Shame,” is more promising though. It perfects the trance-like, doo-wop sound Dr. Dog fans have grown to love. The lyrics are narrative, introspective, self-deprecating, and above all else, executed perfectly.
“I was a loner unloved. I really didn’t need any help at all. I used to wonder the streets at midnight avoiding any signs of life.”
Shame, Shame is by no means revolutionary, but if you’re a hipster looking to brag about a potentially great band, go ahead and buy this album. Maybe you’ll get some street-cred so you can feel good about yourself.