Review Summary: Sweet, lovable, and most of all catchy indie-rock from the past.
First off, I’m not going to pretend that I know anything in advance. Before last week, I hadn’t heard much about Dr. Dog. In fact, if my friend didn’t point out Dr. Dog Lollapalooza line-up, I probably would have overlooked them entirely. Coming into Fate
, I was skeptical of what genre I was about to listen to, let alone what it actually sounded like. After one song, I was hooked. It felt like a rejuvenation of the pop/rock that the Beatles and the Beach Boys had groomed and shaped so long ago, but hardly a carbon copy. Dr. Dog’s Fate
came by surprise; and I couldn’t be any more satisfied.
The sound is what separates Fate
from every other indie-pop album out there. It is like nothing out today, but more of a blast from the past. “The Breeze” is a quaint track, reminiscent of a Beatles track between the vocal harmonies and overall style. Most tracks on Fate
contain a fair amount of unique instruments whether it be a horn section, pianos, or woodwinds that encapsulate the albums grandiose production. It makes “Hang On,” which is a combination of older soul tracks and edgy indie-pop, so enjoyable. Conversely, “The Ark” is paced like a war march with a rough western feel, showing the true diversity of Fate
is laced with pop hooks. Seemingly riddled in every verse and chorus; it is impossible to deny its catchiness. The album’s opener, “The Breeze” reminds me of the projecting voice of Okkervil River’s front man, but more compassionate. Behind the compassion shows an unspoken maturity. “Army Of Ancients” and “100 Years” are two glaring pieces of evidence. The mid-tempo ballad, “Army Of Ancients” seeps with piano melodies behind a consistent crescendo within the chorus, which climaxes with a passionate ‘ohhh yeahhhh’ (it will make you shake, in a good way). As the song ends, a string and horn section whisks away the song until it fades out. Another relatively slow song, “100 Years” is a modest song with a beautiful acappella section highlighting the modern-day Americana single. Lyrically, Dr. Dog exceeds even further.
Lyrical topics can be playful and happy at times, but heartbreaking in the same breathe. The gospel style singing in “From” is a prime example with a call-and-response singing, ‘You’re not my son’ / but you know my love [oh my love] / no it ain’t easy [it ain’t easy] / but it ain’t the type to give up and die / that’s not my love.’ Another deep line comes from “The Rabbit, The Bat, And The Reindeer.” At first, you would think it could be a conversation about a relationship, but in reality it is a conversation with an old habit known as alcohol, ‘I'm getting it back with that terrible feeling/ my vision is cracked, but it looks like it's healing/ I'm getting it back like it's four in the morning/ when the sun only shines as if it's giving a warning.’ Preach it brother.
Simply put, Fate
is a refreshment of the sound that has been missing for so long. Dr. Dog are evolving their influences into an brilliant release of everything they love about music. The pace and length of Fate
is suitable. In addition, the album rarely comes off as repetitious. I’ll leave you with one piece of advice; go out and listen to one of the best indie albums released this year.