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CD of The Week

Week of 5/07/18

    Dr. Dog - Critical Equation (We Buy Gold / Thirty Tigers)

    For over 15 years, Dr. Dog has been among the leading lights of the Philly indie rock world. Helping pave the way for our fair city's booming music scene, from The War on Drugs to Hop Along, Dr. Dog just released their tenth album Critical Equation, further cementing the band as a mainstay of the wave of rock groups they lit the spark for.

    We last heard from Dr. Dog in 2016, when they released a pair of albums: The Psychedelic Swamp, a re-recording of early, unreleased material, and the surprise record Abandoned Mansion. For Critical Equation, the band isn't reinventing their own wheel. Dr. Dog songs are, as always, built around the duo of Scott McMicken and Toby Leaman and their wall of harmonies.

    Critical Equation kicks off with the pulsing opener "Listening In," followed by the organ-heavy call to arms of "Go Out Fighting." Keyboardist Zach Miller is the glue holding these songs together, as much of the album is made up of mid-tempo tunes with his organ sounds all over the record. The album picks up the pace a bit with "True Love," which bounces along on a nimble beat, and the big bright "Heart Killer." Elsewhere, the spacy "Night" almost feels like a Yoshimi-era Flaming Lips track thanks to its extra-trippy prog keyboards.

    The guys long ago overcame those early, easy Beach Boys x Beatles comparisons into a sound that is unmistakably Dr. Dog. The flipside to this is that you know more or less exactly what you're getting from the group at this point. There are no real surprises on Critical Equation, just more of Dr. Dog doing their Dr. Dog thing. Critical Equation is like hanging out with a group of familiar old friends from back home on a Sunday morning, perhaps even in West Philly.

    Dr. Dog headline a big-time hometown show at Festival Pier on June 23rd with (Sandy) Alex G opening up.

    **Donate $20 or more to Y-Not Radio to receive a copy of Critical Equation on CD. Click here for details.
    Review by Joey O.

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