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CD of The Week

Week of 2/08/16

    Dr. Dog - The Psychedelic Swamp (Anti-)

    Dr. Dog has floated in between genres for a few albums now, mostly in the indie rock and Beatle-esque pop world. Their ninth album, The Psychedelic Swamp, is no departure from that. In fact, the album itself is a re-work from their debut of the same name. Only existing as a rare bootleg commodity among fans, the band went back in to the studio to re-work it and intersperse radio airwaves, retro game samples, and speeches about swamp life. The end product is a more robust and modern representation of how far the band has come, and how firmly planted they are in their roots.

    Doug O'Donnell, who was in the band in their early years (circa 2004), has returned and contributed vocals to album opener “Golden Hind.” Dr. Dog mainstays Toby Leaman and Scott McMicken share the rest of the album quite equally. While acoustic guitar is prominently featured throughout the album, the dark tones of square wave synth and fuzzy guitars cut through like a knife.

    Songs such as “Golden Hind,” “Swampedelic Pop” and “Bring My Baby Back” evoke the sounds of The Flaming Lips and MGMT while “Fire On My Back” and “Good Grief” are classic Dr. Dog. “Holes In My Back” starts like a Pink Floyd track but never reaches a crescendo. “Swamp Descent” is a beautiful short Hawaiian interlude into the deep slacker jazz track “Engineer Says.”

    The Psychedelic Swamp was partially fleshed out as part of their experimental show The Swamp Is On, performed back in September at Union Transfer with the Pig Iron Theatre Company. During these shows, they tuned in to rare radio frequencies (operating beneath the approved government bandwidths) to decode messages from “The Swamp.”

    On The Psychedelic Swamp, you’ll find some of Dr. Dog’s most beautiful guitar parts and harmonies they’ve done yet, up against synth sounds and sax solos. Hear it all in person at The Fillmore on March 17th (with Hop Along) or April 16th (with Speedy Ortiz).
    Review by Andrew Johns

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