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Dr. Dog 

Takers and Leavers

Wednesday, Sep 6 2006
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Smug indie rockers, bare-footin' post-hippies, hooked-on-hooks pop junkies — can't they all just get along? Dr. Dog says yeah, they can, and the Philly five-piece offers this six-song EP as the soundtrack to the icebreaker. Like with any first encounter, there's gonna be some initial awkwardness, and in this case it comes in the form of unabashed exuberance. Dr. Dog's hazy, harmonized pop is sunnier than summertime, played with what could be considered lethally low levels of irony. This exuberance, young hipster, is to be savored, not feared. As is the deliciously sticky songwriting, compact but swollen with pithy turnarounds, tiny guitar solos, and surprise crescendos — like a new brand of bubblegum that somehow makes you smarter.

The most common critique/gush/bash on Dr. Dog involves the word "Beatles" and the suffix "-esque." Bah — cliché. "Gondrylike" is how this mellowed gold sounds, trapped in the amber of classic songcraft, illuminated by an in-the-moment joy, intentionally oblique but never evasive, and with a terrific payoff at the end. Especially "Livin a Dream," the EP's final track, which exhibits that blend of lyrical imagery, light, color, and mood mastered by the French auteur. And everyone loved Eternal Sunshine, right?

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Jonathan Zwickel

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