Dr. Dog’s newest album, B-Room, is the eighth release since the band’s formation in 1999. The indie folk/psychedelic rock group aimed to have a good time but also make a more bare-bones record. Their previous discs usually incorporated a lot of layering and over-dubbing, which they tried to avoid on the new project. However, there are still many elements to each cut. Occasionally there are excess instruments in the background, so much so that it distracts from the verses and borders on noise.
Based on the intent for the compilation, the best track is “Too Weak To Ramble,” a sorrowful ballad that only features vocalist Toby Leaman’s voice and a lone acoustic guitar. It chronicles the story of a free spirit who eventually tires out and no longer becomes able to roam the world. The lyrical quality of the LP is inconsistent, as the words are deep and meaningful on “Too Weak To Ramble,” but “Rock N’ Roll” contains lyrics that show the band is also just having fun making music. The songs all have similar melodies and form a cohesive album, and for the most part, the accompanying choruses are deep and full of plays on words. Even though Dr. Dog have been around for a while, they are not afraid to add a goofy song every once in a while to make their discography more amusing.
B-Room could have been improved with more sophisticated songs, but it is by no means a bad record. It epitomizes the group’s quintessential indie folk/rock sound. Although it does not fully accomplish Dr. Dog’s goal of getting back to basics, perhaps the reason the act is still successful is because their use of layering and over-dubbing is what they do best.