Dr. Dog's seventh studio album B-Room isn't anything out of the ordinary in terms of what the band has done in the past. It still mostly relies on that lo-fi psychedelic-roots sound, and it still delivers.
What's worth talking about, however, is that they backed away from the polished studio sound that has made them relatively successful and traded it in for a no gimmicks effort.
It all started with their months-long construction project on what would become their new studio. They took an old silversmith's mill outside of their hometown Philadelphia and revamped it into their own personal musical mansion. The 5,000-square-foot space became their second home while they recorded B-Room. The title of the album is actually named after a room the band built in the building (seen on the album cover).
This do-it-yourself attitude translated over to the album itself. Most of the recordings are live, and there isn't much overdubbing or sampling. There also aren't any guest artists, so you get to feel the camaraderie of the six guys.
Compared to past albums, the sounds on B-Room incorporate a more Motown and funk mixed with pop sounds of the '60s and straightforward blues-rock. The harmonies are joyful, and the switching vocals of guitarist Scott McMicken and bassist Tony Leaman are honest and soulful.
One standout track, beside the two singles "Broken Heart" and "The Truth," is "Too Weak To Ramble," in which the band really goes the barebones route with simply an acoustic guitar and vocals. This is probably the most emotional song on the album, and its raw vibe is what makes it so powerful.
The rest of the collection of tracks on this effort fit in nicely within Dr. Dog's current discography, and fans will surely be singing along to these new jams at live shows — where the band truly shines.
Overall, the album is solid. It doesn't have many surprises; the melodies are catchy, and the songs are full — despite being clear-cut. B-Room is a nice, predictable transition from 2012's Be The Void, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. The band seems comfortable now; they seem happy; they seem settled in their new home, and they are stilling writing some really great stuff. No need to fix what is not broken.
Listen to the album here, and let us know what you think in the comments section below!