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Please Describe Yourself

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Album Review

Dogs Die in Hot Cars' full-length debut, Please Describe Yourself, reveals the band to be mellower and more diverse than its singles suggested. Although the angular ska-tinged pop of "I Love You 'Cause I Have To" and the manic, ever so slightly geeky "Godhopping" are still two of the band's stand-out songs, the full album shows that the somewhat unfortunately named band doesn't just deal in new wave pastiche. Instead of just beating one style into the ground, on Please Describe Yourself Dogs Die in Hot Cars mine the past of British pop but find relatively fresh ways of rediscovering it. The band gets downright pastoral on the gentle, mostly acoustic "Somewhat Off the Way," and delivers bouncy, breezy pop with "Lounger," one of the tracks that showcases the band's witty call-and-response arrangements and dense vocal harmonies. XTC is a strong influence on Please Describe Yourself, but unlike many of the bands following in Andy Partridge and company's footsteps in the 2000s, Dogs Die in Hot Cars borrow from XTC's warmer, poppier work from the mid- and late '80s rather than their early, sharply angular material. "Apples & Oranges" is a perfect example of this sunny, good-natured pop. There's also an undercurrent of earnestness and goofiness on Please Describe Yourself that sets the band apart from some of its more detached British art pop contemporaries; even on "Pastimes & Lifestyles," which is the closest the band gets to a fashionably post-punk style, Dogs Die in Hot Cars still sound too quirky to fit completely into that mold. The faux-country intro of "Paul Newman's Eyes" and the star worship of "Celebrity Sanctum" border on the silly, but they express the band's personality as much as the spry piano lines and flourishes of brass and woodwinds that flit through the album. Though the bulk of Please Describe Yourself is sweet, jangly pop laden with hooks and harmonies, Dogs Die in Hot Cars don't really seem to be aping the '60s, '70s, '80s, or any other decade. Judging by the band's singles, it isn't unexpected that Please Describe Yourself is catchy and fun, but the number of different ways that Dogs Die in Hot Cars find to be catchy and fun on the album is a pleasant surprise.

Customer Reviews

Musically fantastic!

The melodies are strong and upbeat, which contrasts the largely negative/weird lyrics. Still manages to be an album I look forward to hearing


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Even though their bright, peppy pop recalls Dexy's Midnight Runners, Big Country, XTC, Talking Heads, and other new wave luminaries, Fife, Scotland's Dogs Die in Hot Cars grew up on a musical diet of Nirvana and Red Hot Chili Peppers. The band -- which allegedly stumbled upon their odd name while inhaling helium balloons -- got their start while vocalists/guitarists Craig Macintosh and Gary Smith, bassist Lee Worrall, keyboardist/vocalist Ruth Quigley, and drummer Laurence Davey were still in high...
Full Bio
Please Describe Yourself, Dogs Die In Hot Cars
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