Dr. Dog has successfully expanded on their quest to toughen their sound with their seventh long player, “Be the Void”. Their last record, “Shame Shame”, saw the group break free from their tried-and-true blend of Beach Boy pop, Beatles hooks, and Band harmonies, blossoming into true indie rock powerhouses. While “Shame Shame” was a tightly constructed rock album, “Be the Void” is a loose conglomeration of melodic guitar-oriented pop/rock. This is clear from the first few bars of the first song on the album, “Lonesome”. The freewheeling feel continues through the entire album, highlighted by the awesomely catchy “That Old Black Hole”, How Long Must I Wait”, Vampire”, and my favorite song on the record thus far, “Heavy Light”. The swirling melodies and pounding drums propel the song as the lyrics glide through the listener like a ditty from They Might Be Giants. Truly captivating stuff, and each song blends seamlessy to create a fantastically coherent whole. All in All, this is another masterpiece from a band at their peak. As a fan, I’d put it behind “Shame Shame” and “Easy Beat” at this juncture, but with time that could easily change. This album is that good.
The best thing about Dr. Dog is that each of their efforts enhances and expands the template of sound they’ve created without copying previous formulas. It’s an incredible compliment to them they can sound like Dr. Dog without sounding like anything they’ve done before.
++++- First few listens, I gave it four positives. Now it’s up to 4.5 after 12 or so spins. Talk to me in 30 and it may well be five.