Album Review: Dog Day - "Deformer"

 Review by Dan Nightingale

Deformer is the newest full length EP from Dog Day, now paired down from their classic four piece line up to the core two piece of Seth Smith and Nancy Ulrich. There's no hint of any lack of fullness when the album kicks off full bore with “Daydream” - pounding drums drive a heavy guitar riff underscored by faint synth and topped off by spacey vocals. The songs are quick and to the point, but packed with pop hooks as one would expect.

The record was produced completely by the duo in the seclusion of their country home - besides taking part in the writing, playing, and recording, Smith also mixed and mastered the record and created the artwork and packaging as part of art duo Yo Rodeo. The record has a home crafted feel, to be sure, and it doesn't have the polish you'd expect to hear on a big budget, big name produced studio album, but the beauty of Dog Day has always been in how catchy a simple hook can be. The recording follows the same style – even simple production can get the point across very well.

Of course the force that drives the whole record is the aforementioned duality, and when Smith and Ulrich combine to sing vocals on songs like “What She Says” or “Scratches” you start to get the essence of the Dog Dog style, where songs are dark and poppy at the same time, and riffs are heavy yet upbeat. - take the descending power chords of “What She Says,” which climax in triumphant melodies and a glorious blend of crashing drums, synths, vocals, and guitars before fading into the Lenoard Cohen-esq guitar and stated vocals of “Somebody”. It's a stand out track that can send shivers down the spine with just a voice and an acoustic guitar, which is no easy feat. It's a perfectly placed cut in the middle of the drum driven album and serves as a nice rest before the album dives back into dirty guitars and bare bones drum beats.

“Nothing to Du” starts off like a classic punk song and churns out a repeating heavy riff with layers of vocals on top, before turning psychedelic with panning vocals and shakers before snapping back into classic heavy pop riffs and then a quick and tight ending – it's a quintessential Dog Day song but all the little touches keep everything interesting and keep all the songs from running together.

The penultimate track, “Mr. Freeze” runs along the same lines as “Somebody” albeit with a far creepier atmosphere and disturbing dog growls. Finally the band tops everything off with “In the Woods” - as close to an autobiographical song as they'll likely write – detailing their move away from “all of that hipster bullshit” of the city and into the peaceful country life that was necessary to produce an album like Deformer. The whole album is sure to please fans old and new alike, and recent shows prove that nothing is lacking in the live aspect either, as the band replicates the album faithfully on stage.


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