Dog Fashion Disco
Sweet Nothings


4.5
superb

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
July 28th, 2014 | 86 replies


Release Date: 07/22/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A triumphant return that re-establishes the band as eclectic metal luminaries.

Baltimore-based Dog Fashion Disco have always been difficult to pin down. Combining such potentially dissimilar genres as alternative metal, funk and cabaret, the collective made a name for themselves with their unique crossover style. The act's eclectic tendencies backed by sharp songwriting turned such albums as Anarchists Of Good Taste and Committed To a Bright Future into exciting genre-bending offerings. The band was clearly on a roll last decade but they didn't hit their stride until 2006 when Adultery was released. Their trademark eclecticism blended so well with film noir concepts that the result was one of the most adventurous records of the last decade, a collection of stylistically varied songs dexterously bound by the theme of crime.

The new album from reunited Dog Fashion Disco comes out after eight years on the grounds of a successful crowdfunding campaign, and it's totally in line with the expectations of fans perfectly epitomizing what the group are all about. Instead of venturing into new musical realms, Sweet Nothings settles on the act's familiar fusion of styles. Sturdy metal-centered arrangements are augmented by jazzy woodwind instruments and spooky keys taken straight from a horror movie. The allure of the record lies in how effectively these divergent influences are combined. The sextet are equally captivating when they deal in robust metallic head-bangers and playful funky cuts. There's a fine balance of both these track modes here. The off-kilter progressions of such pummeling songs as 'Scarlet Fever' and 'Envy The Vultures' are contrasted with the danceable grooves of 'Doctor's Orders,' the Caribbean rhythms of 'Struck By Lightening' and the idyllic atmospherics of the title track.

The group's penchant for sonic and stylistic experimentation isn't strictly restricted to the mellower segments, though. The heaviness of 'Down The Rabbit Hole' is wondrously drenched in oriental soundscapes before the song resorts to psychotic outbursts built around a polirhythmic guitar play echoing The Dillinger Escape Plan. Meanwhile, 'We Aren't The World' is a powerful if bitter anthem that uses children chants and circus music to genuinely creepy effect. The riffs courtesy of Jason Stepp permeate through these tracks with fierce intensity ranging from pulverizing to kaleidoscopic. Yet the guitarist also shows new-found finesse on the sleek 'Approach and Recede,' putting in a series of piercing solos. Brian White's audible bass lines are also instrumental in keeping the presentation engrossing throughout. Not only does White bring infectious funky foundations to the songs, but also provides ingenious clunky beats on many occasions.

Although Dog Fashion Disco mostly work within the confines of linear song structure, they are able to turn every track into a thrilling ride fueled by eccentric ideas. Todd Smith's chameleonic vocals only enhance the record's multifaceted nature as he effortlessly oscillates between melodic croons, charismatic chants, devilish falsettos and tenebrous baritone, adjusting his vocal style to the music with admirable shrewdness. His lyrics are not as tied by a concept as they were on Adultery, which makes them more thematically diverse if no less zany at times. For instance, a political anti-war statement of 'War Party' is juxtaposed with bold sexual assertions of 'Approach and Recede.'

There's insidious darkness loitering beneath the surfaces here, implicit regardless of whether the sextet are rolling at full tilt or holding back. The pair of tracks that bookend the disc attests to that. 'Greta' is an achingly sorrowful account of lost love made even more brooding by a smokey saxophone solo. The closer 'End Of The Road' advances from similarly contemplative balladry to doom metal agony. The guitars pummel mercilessly, the distorted bass thunders, the keys squeak in a demented fashion, and Smith screams out ominously “Pale death's creeping in.” This is Dog Fashion Disco firing on all cylinders and in the process reaching their full potential. Sweet Nothings could easily be a failure like countless comeback records. Instead, it's a stunning reunion album that re-establishes the band as eclectic metal luminaries.




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Poor production brings down an otherwise fairly successful comeback release....


Comments:Add a Comment 
greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 28th 2014


7397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Here's the stream:

https://soundcloud.com/rottenrecords/sets/dog-fashion-disco-sweet-nothings-1

Digging: Lo-Pan - Colossus

Jethro42
July 28th 2014


12456 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Your writer's block didn't last too long finally, Greg. Great review for a great album.
I hesitated between a 4 or a 4.5, I'm gonna see what I'll do at my next listen.


zakalwe
July 28th 2014


8251 Comments


Alternative metal, funk and cabaret sounds horrific. Might give it a spin

greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 28th 2014


7397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks Jethro, and yes zakalwe you should.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
July 28th 2014


3421 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great stuff here.

Digging: Electric Wizard - Time to Die

yourgodisinferior
July 28th 2014


858 Comments


can't wait to check this

deathschool
July 28th 2014


8460 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Fuck yes. I was hoping you would review this, and a fantastic review it was.

Digging: Look What I Did - Atlas Drugged

Funeralopolis
July 28th 2014


11413 Comments


bet this sucks

Digging: Black Milk - No Poison No Paradise

deathschool
July 28th 2014


8460 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nah. It rules. Check it immediately.

CelestialOuroboros
July 28th 2014


435 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Holy shit... I myself wasn't too sure about this at first, although that might just be due to the fact that I started out listening to "Envy the Vultures" and "We Aren't the World"; those are still great tunes, don't get me wrong. Earlier this morning, I listened to the entire Sweet Nothings album via YouTube and - without a doubt - DFD has come a long way.

Detective Dan
July 28th 2014


169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Struck By Lightning has to be my favorite song of the year. So goddamn catchy.

deathschool
July 28th 2014


8460 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Tastes so Sweet's chorus reminds me of Queen hard.

ExplosiveOranges
July 28th 2014


2835 Comments


Sweet review, Greg. I'll check this out ASAP.

Digging: Electric Wizard - Time to Die

Calc
July 28th 2014


12212 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Your writer's block didn't last too long finally, Greg."

wait what?

Digging: Milo - A Toothpaste Suburb

Jethro42
July 28th 2014


12456 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

that's the best I can do in English.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 28th 2014


7397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks a ton guys. I like Doctor's Orders, Approach and Recede, Down The Rabbit Hole, We Are The World and End Of The Road the most.

AstrialExpedition
July 28th 2014


29 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol at the hidden track

kingsoby1
Emeritus
July 28th 2014


4950 Comments


i used to love adultery but im not really into traditional rock/ etc anymore. tried to listen, might try again

Gyromania
July 29th 2014


15791 Comments


adultery still rules

Digging: Lantlos - .neon

greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 29th 2014


7397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is almost as good if quite different



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