1st October 2013 – ANTI-
Psychedelic Rock/ Alternative
The eighth album from psychedelic revival band Dr. Dog, B-Room floats around with all the usual ethereal, off-kilter pop tones of the greats. The beats and rhythms are catchy, yet somehow strange to the attuned pop listener, and there is a definite air of the band being barely tethered to this plane of existence. I mean, the opening tracks, The Truth and Broken Heart, jump effortlessly from riff to riff to solo to quirked up vocal melody, and somehow it all seems to work and the listener is more than able to get somewhat caught up in all of the fun and nonsense.
The real charm, however, doesn’t kick in until about track three (Minding The Usher) when the band actually begin to live up to their psychedelic reputation and take us all on a wonderfully trippy journey through a whole landscape of weird noise and surreal pop. I mean, the way this group draws on an incredibly solid knowledge of their sixties and seventies forefathers is a real delight to hear as they wind their way through Bob Dylan rambles, Big Brother and The Holding Company bass lines, and Beach Boys spacial production.
My issue with B-Room, however, is even though reliving the music of the sixties is certainly charming, it can never really be called truly original in 2013. I mean, it really is wonderful that somebody has taken the time to look back through their (or perhaps their parent’s) record collection and taken an insipiration from the more mellow side of psychedelic rock, but I think I may have liked these boys even better if they had just taken it all that one step further and written something that I couldn’t actually have heard back in the sixties. I already like Bob Dylan and I already like The Grateful Dead and as such I do seem to like Dr. Dog, but primarily it’s because they remind me so much of a whole load of better artists.
Once again, I have to say there’s really nothing wrong with their song-writing abilities, their playing, or even their attitudes on this record, it really is just that… well, truth be told, it’s not really their record. It just owes so much to their influences that it comes across as more of a tribute collection than an actually original attempt at creativity.
Ocassionally they do break through the mould and come out with something truly exciting. The grungy production of Long Way Down in conjunction with cleverly layer instrumentation, for example, really hits the spot of ‘something I haven’t actually heard before’, and Twilight was likewise a relatively well made piece of music, but overall I’ve got to say that B-Room doesn’t go very far in breaking any kind of established musical barriers.
I guess it’s just that when I’m on the lookout for a really great record I’m looking for something that brings something new to the table and this record doesn’t do that. The Beatles did that, The Beach Boys did that, but Dr. Dog just bring the same stuff as those earlier bands to the party. It’s still all good stuff, but Brian Wilson brought it better.
So, in conclusion I’m going to have to say that B-Room is a cleverly made record and a lot of thought has obviously gone into it, but at the end of the day someone else has already done the thinking on it. There is some fun to be had on a number of the tracks, but it’s just not quite enough fun to justify giving this one a particularly high score.
It’s well worth it if you just need something to add to your collection of folk-psychedelia records, but there’s not many other reasons to rush out and get this one.
Here’s Long Way Down, one of the more original sounding tracks from B-Room.
- Dr. Dog (betheesa.wordpress.com)
- Dr. Dog stays the course on latest LP (dailytrojan.com)
- Dr. Dog Is Playing FREE At Amoeba Music (thescenestar.typepad.com)
- Sneak a Peek at Dr. Dog’s New Record (independent.com)
- Dr. Dog Build ‘B-Room’ From the Ground Up – Album Premiere (rollingstone.com)
- Dr. Dog schedules North American dates behind “B-Room” (capitalcitytickets.net)
- Dr. Dog debut video for new song ‘Love,’ with a heaping helping of nostalgia (deathandtaxesmag.com)
- Review & Photos | Dr. Dog | New York City (jambase.com)