Friday, June 11, 2021

Them Damn Dogs' 'Unpoetic Flavor' delivers earworms for days

Them Damn Dogs' latest album, titled ‘Unpoetic Flavor’, is committed to being danceable and catchy, while also unafraid to dip into pure alt-rock raw energy. The album seems to alternate deliberately between on-your-feet dance tracks to alternative rock jams that explore uniquely textured rhythms.

The album opens with a shimmery ode to surf-rock love ballads, 'Memories' sounds like the soundtrack to a summer day at the beach; it is hard not to tap your foot along with it. ‘Focus’ employs a bass line reminiscent of Red Hot Chilli Peppers, while shredded guitars accord the song with a light, airy quality that remains for the first half of the album. ‘I Don’t Want To Know (Right Now)’ pushes us into a far more up-tempo terrain and introduces an interplay between bass and synth which seems to be at the forefront of this album’s formal themes. 

Any Day’ opens with the charming lines, "Loneliness can be such a drag / but it comes with the best feelings that I’ve ever had". While most love songs about the difficulties of being together might attribute them to perfect lovers having bad timing, ‘Any Day’ provides a refreshing imagining of the possibility of when love happens with a person least likely to be considered as a candidate for courting at all.

Moonlight (Dance Groove)’ brings us back to the band’s agenda to get us moving, but relies more on sections of lead guitar solos than the bass-synth interplay to make the magic happen. ‘I Wish I Was Dead’ is the perfect song for the gig experience: lighters in the air, waving arms along with a crowd. That said, the song is far from playing into cliché tropes as it seems like the band is in on it as well. 

I get the feeling that they are in sync with the affective moments of music and dance itself – the hooks and grooves that suggest you are fit to play a part: perhaps a dancer, a lover, the protagonist of a story – and ask you to indulge, even if just for a moment. 

Cold Blood Animals’ confirms my suspicion by its playful story-building, almost rendering itself as a soundtrack to a musical. The track is followed by a similar parodying of the love ballad format in ‘For You’ where popular tropes are explored and mocked. In a testament to their commitment to making catchy earworms, a lot of the album incorporates very vivid visual imagery, which translates into later recollections of fragments of songs in everyday life.

The last three songs are resolutely alt-rock in their ethos and leave behind the world-building that has transpired through the record. The band provides us with heavy bass-synth-laden jams explored in a myriad of ways to produce completely different moods for completely different contexts and settings. 

The album is a perfect late-night listen, if at a party, or the after-party, or on the way home. Them Damn Dogs thoughtfully deliver a lush, synth-laden soundtrack that is not afraid to feel deeply and openly.


Photo by Aaron Anderson 

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