Dr. Dog's Shame, Shame shines with sorrow

At 11 years old, Dr. Dog are officially veterans in the indie music scene. While their last two albums, 2008’s Fate and 2007’s We All Belong, sought to establish their credibility as great musicians and song writers, with their latest effort, Shame, Shame, they have little left to prove. And it seems that the band knows this. On Shame, the band digs deep to produce songs, some several years old, that instead focus on emotional earnestness and honesty. And it couldn’t have been done much more brilliantly.

The album’s first single and leadoff track, “Stranger,” opens with a sort of accepted disappointment. Lyrically, there’s nothing to smile about, but the almost upbeat music counters all of that and gives the song a more optimistic, or at very least fatalistic, feeling. “Later,” maybe the best song on the album, lets us into the upset mind of a man with a simple problem: he can’t sit around and wait for his love to come around any more. It’s this basic anger and sadness that is at the heart of Shame. But rather than wallow in it, Dr. Dog plays with the emotion, balancing musical elements that conflict and compliment so well.

They still take the basic musical approach that combines all things rock, country, blues, folk and honkey tonk to make their own unique brand. While musically the band hasn’t progressed much (how much can they really progress?), they’ve added a whole new depth of feeling and lyricism that that gives so many more layers to the songs they write. They haven’t necessarily blown the top off the last two albums, but they have certainly made something new and great. Rather than fade into indie veteran obscurity with another good, similar album, they stepped up to the plate and delivered something great.

Dr. Dog – “Stranger” [MP3]

Dr. Dog – “Later” [MP3]

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