Remember when everyone made music like Dr. Dog? Neither do we. While we’re certainly happy with the music of our own day and age, it would’ve been pure magic to have seen 1960s musical greats sow the seeds of their musical arcs. Dr. Dog offers (and has been offering for quite a while) the 1960s in musical form (hear: the anthemic “Jackie Wants a Black Eye”). What sets them apart from their predecessors is that they aren’t old and decrepit like the drugged-out, washed-up musicians currently on their latest reunion tours.
Shame, Shame, like the rest of Dr. Dog’s catalogue, sounds exactly like the music that must have been playing in the background when you imagine your parents getting high in college. And for that reason, it has a sort of built-in nostalgia from the outset. The music is simple, and this lack of ambition is sometimes comforting and at other times rather frustrating. The album leads off with a bit of dullness, but peaks soon after with the desperately poppy “Where’d All the Time Go?”
Most of Dr. Dog’s critics say that all the band has going for them is a commitment to music that their fan base considers “real.” All conversations about “reality” aside, their most recent disc, like those before it, is simply good music. Of course, it’s nice to see a band other than The White Stripes earn indie cred by cranking out music that pays homage to its forefathers, but there’s far more to this music than ripping off the ‘60s. For one, this album features an emotional spectrum of lyrics that’s a lot wider than most. And that’s really only the beginning of what makes this album a solid one (above-average instrumentalism and impeccable tempo, among other things). But don’t confuse solid for groundbreaking or revolutionary.