Dog Society

Independent release, 2012


REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


In 1993, a little-known band called Dog Society released an album (Test Your Own Eyes) and won some opening tour slots for Sheryl Crow and Stone Temple Pilots. They then promptly disappeared for two decades, which is, I suppose, one way to avoid the sophomore jinx.

Now, the New York quintet has returned with its second albummy_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 , Emerge. Evidently, that opening slot for STP was influential, because this record has a strong presence from that glam-rock-psychdelic-pop band throughout, with strong hints of the Goo Goo Dolls and late period Beatles weaving around these  12 songs. The chorus of "A Good Friend" is right out of Shangri-La Dee Da and opener "Being Here" is an appealing blend of STP and the Goos with a catchy guitar lick to propel it.

That's not to say this is outright mimicry; singer Brian Schnaak is far more grounded than Scott Weiland (and bassist Rich Guerzon's lyrics are much better), and the best songs here use the influences to create something new, as on the groove-centric "The Fuse Before," the quirky White Album-esque "Pink Sun," the psychedelic pop of "Aleja" and the timeless "Shade Grown," which could have come from any of the last five decades of music. It would be a classic had the solo been a bit more articulated and the vocals been straight-up instead of piped through a phaser, though I suppose that gives the song a bit of charm.

However, the disc goes from the above highlights to the faceless ballad "Scraped," the bizarre "Spaceboots" and outright STP clones "A Good Friend" and "Spoken Word." A bit of prog-rock ambition creeps into "Daymare" and "Salt" closes the disc with a bluesy acoustic number that sounds like it was a lot of fun to record.

Fans of ’90s alternative  rock will get the most out of this, which is fitting because that is Dog Society's original starting point. There is enough here to make this an interesting, BS-free listen that avoids the sophomore slump, even if at times it is easier to spot the influences than discern the true identity of the band.

Rating: B-

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