CD review for Dr. Dog, "Fate"

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With the band's flush vocal harmonies, fuzzed-out guitars and particular liking for handclaps and finger snaps, Dr. Dog could, on first listen, be easy to lump in with every other indie rock band that draws on psychedelia to make itself stand apart.

But the band's folkloric sensibility and R&B influence keep that from happening.

On "Fate," the Philadelphia quintet goes, thematically at least, much further back than its sonic sources. You get lo-fi riffs paired with lyrics that sound like they came off a back porch somewhere in the South ("God, he called for rain/ So I built an ark but no rain came/ I was ashamed). You get songs that combine "Amelie" piano vamps with flower-power guitars and bass lines that could be lifted right off an anthology of Stax Records soul hits.

You get, over and over, arrangements that make no sense. But those arrangements work, as Dr. Dog continues to carve out a sound that can't quite be classified.

Rating: '''1/2

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