On Dr. Dog’s previous album, Shame, Shame, the group, for the lack of a better term, grew up. Gone was the lo-fi indie rock of their earlier work, replaced with more layered, polished sound – a change that was welcomed by critics and fans alike. The natural progression, it seems, would be to continue that expansion, yet for some reason leaders Toby Leaman and Scott McMicken decided to forget all that and on the new album Be The Void return the band to its fuzzy pop sound.
At first listen, it’s easy to speculate that Dr. Dog just didn’t know what to do after Shame, Shame, or specifically, how to continue “growing up.” But here’s the thing: it’s problematic to look at the band’s cleaned up sound as growth. The fact that Be The Void returns to a sound that the band once left behind doesn’t mean it’s an act of regression, but rather, Leaman and McMicken have simply figured out what they want to sound like. They’re sure of themselves and what they’re trying to do. That confidence transcends into the album, especially with catchy tracks “Over Here, Over There” and “Get Away,” both of which capture the group’s gritty, whimsical sound at its finest. Perhaps it’s this confidence that makes Dr. Dog just so oddly charming.
Be The Void could easily be looked at as a new example of that hideous, condescending term “dad rock,” but they escape that. And it’s because they’re not afraid to create the sound that they want to create. Maybe, sure, they’re not necessarily reinventing the genre of independent rock, but not every single band that’s good reinvents their genre. God forbid we have a band willing to put together songs that are consistently quality, right? You know, Dr. Dog is kind of like an everyday bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios. Dudes may not be your mom’s secret recipe for home-made pancakes, but the music is consistent, healthy, and in the right mood, quite delicious.