Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Well, whaddya know, Halifax's Dog Day has devolved, as Devo advised.  Actually, the group is calling it deforming, as in they have deformed the band into a two-piece, stripping back to just guitars and drums.  Those are handled by wife-husband team Nancy Urich and Seth Smith.  The disc was recorded at home, and it sounds it, as the duo are old-school low-fi, Eric's Trip'd out.

The mix of muddy and melodic is always a bit distracting to my ears, having grown up in the Pop Wars of the 60's and 70's.  You youngsters wouldn't remember, but knights such as Darth Spector and Obi-Wan Wilson used to wield their light sabers to make the music bigger and brighter.  So when I hear great chord changes and boy-girl harmonies buried in a mix that only allows grungy guitar and clashing cymbals behind muffled lyrics, it makes me strain.  I have no doubt the Canine Couple could compete on that level, they just choose not to.

Stripping down to a two-piece actually works in the group's favour, as Deformer is their most concise and complete effort.  The songs have a more finished feeling, and a general glow that was missing on occasion before.  With only themselves to worry about, less becomes more.  There's even a bit more experimentation, with some different guitar sounds, tempos and changes that wouldn't be so effective in a larger group context.  With results this good, if I was a bass player, I'd be worried about this becoming a trend.

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