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The Day the Dogs Took Over

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Album Review

With production from early American Music Club boardsman Tom Mallon — amusingly titled the 'lord of lugubriousness' in the credits — Dogs shows that while Chance the Gardener weren't going to break any sonic boundaries, neither were the bandmembers going to just simply perform country-tinged rock and go home. Blakey's thick drawl is upfront from the start — if one can't hack that, listening is probably not recommended — while Bryant's own more strained, slightly desperate tones made for a good contrast song for song. Musically, the group could hit both the high lonesome and charging rock levels just right, along with plenty of points in between, like the slightly bemused and loungey r'n'b parts on "Clean" or the jazz-touched solos in "Hands Like Jesus." Guitar soloing from Blakey and Bryant that didn't suck was a plus to begin with — check out the pyrotechnics on "Indian" — while the Hain/Takushi rhythm section easily handled forward attacks and softer shuffles with aplomb. At the band's best, it easily equals the likes of forebears like Gram Parsons, as one listen to the lovely, tear-stained "The Best Laid Plans" will show. "Tupelo" is another downbeat winner, alternating between restrained emotion and heavier stuff that calls to mind prime Neil Young and Crazy Horse. But it isn't all about simply having a tear in one's beer -"Mosquito" has sharp sentiments, as the refrain going 'cut me off at the neck' makes clear, but the hearty rush of the performance itself is what good rock is meant to be, fiery and invigorating. Even more amazing is "Freeway," which kicks and then some, building up into a fantastic, achingly but strongly sung musical and vocal climax. The sweetly wounded "Flying" ends what on balance is truly a lost classic, worthy of investigation wherever it or its tracks can be found.

The Day the Dogs Took Over, Chance The Gardner
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