In a relatively brief span of time, Dr. Dog have been
elevated from near obscurity into a prominent place among today’s quirkier pop
outfits, earning critical praise and even setting a standard for a newer bunch
of hopeful up-and-comers. Despite their innocuous handle — one that would
seemingly better befit a more ubiquitous rapper – the band’s made their name as
being one to watch with eager anticipation.
So whether or not there’s anything to be read into the title
of their new offering is best left to conjecture, because while Shame, Shame is a decent effort and a
worthy successor to Fate, their big
breakthrough, it’s not necessarily the album to further advance their blossoming
reputation. “Later,” “Unbearable Why” and “I Only Wear Blue” stand out as the
best of the bunch, mainly because they’re the cuts where they opt for
unexpected turns rather than merely falling back on their usual giddy designs.
“Jackie Wants a Black Eye” also qualifies as a stunner, although it owes its
intrigue to its somewhat twisted subject matter rather than its complacent
shuffle. Likewise, while the smooth
sashay of “Stranger” makes for a confident opener, the cocky attitude
undermines their ambitions.
Ultimately the album finds a comfortable niche alongside Of
Montreal, the Spoons and the Shins, outfits that allow a more obtuse approach
to override a purer pop conceit. Like their brethren, they’re talented artisans
who sometimes appear a wee bit too clever, even for their own good.
Standout Tracks: “Later,” “Unbearable Why,” “I Only Wear Blue” LEE ZIMMERMAN