Dogs - Turn Against This Land
Bill Cummings 01/08/2005
When “three dick Whittington's” from London Luc (guitars, vocals), Johnny (vocals) and Duncan (bass) met northerners Rikki (guitars) and Rich (drums) on night in London, Dogs was born. Johnny “always wanted to call a band DOGS. Dogs are hilarious, cool and hard, they're funny stupid and they shit everywhere. But most of all dogs like us five are a PACK.”
Opener 'London Bridge' was the first DOGS single, and was described by The Times as the “debut single of the year” and whilst not being that good, its pretty fine indeed. Tumbling guitars, throbbing bass and Mod guitars, it's the sound of 9-5 alienated London wrapped up in a heartbroken, rain sodden night out. The explosive, propulsive chorus (“I won't wait unless she tells me that she wants me”) sounds slightly like the Clash being beaten around the head by The Jam and its, in part, exhilarating.
Next up is last single 'Selfish Ways' a garage rock beast of a song, it bounces along with a chorus Pete Doherty would probably currently kill for; its sarcastic bitter kiss off is brutal, and it's one of the highlights of the record. Elsewhere 'Donkeys' has an epic style that's both heartbroken and wide screen, while 'Turn To A Different Station' is probably my favourite song here. It was formerly a single and will probably be re-released at some stage featuring choppy guitars, an insurgent vocal and a chorus that's massively catchy. It also manages a nod towards The Who's “My Generation” when Johnny Dogs sings “I've still got faith in my generation” and spits out the chorus “I hope your coming I won't be late/ My Brains tuned to a different station/ and I miss ya!”
There are problems with this record though. For instance, the Ian Dury-esque 'She's Got A Reason” collapses under the weight of it's poor lyrics (“I liked you better when you liked me as well”), and Johnny Dogs rasping punk rock vocals start to become a tad one dimensional on things like “End Of An Era” and “Red”. In fact musically this album could have done with being a bit more varied. Too many of the songs are fast paced rockers, that charge along; they sit well in a live setting but on record start to become a bit monotonous to listen to.
The DOGS clearly have designs on the big time and I can imagine them getting there if they continue to produce songs as good as “London Bridge”, “Selfish Ways” and “Tuned To A Different Station” but they must be aware that the renaissance in this kind of Mod/punk rock style may be nearing an end and they may have missed the boat already.