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coverpic flag Norway - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 22 - 08/08/98

Dog Age
As It Were
Voices Of Wonder

This is a sort of reunion album. Dog Age, five or six boys from Oslo, made two albums in the early 1990s (also released by Voices Of Wonder). They got together again around 1995 and here, finally, is the result of their latest efforts. Dog Age means psychedelic pop music in the British tradition. Their first album sounded a lot like a group called The Beatles from 1966 or 67, too much if you asked me at the time. The second fared better and As It Were even more so. Only Harm reminds me especially of those fab four. It sounds like most tracks off the Revolver album cramped into one song, She Said She Said and Tomorrow Never Knows in particular. And believe me, it's a gem! One of the highlights of the album. Well, there is one more great Beatles soundalike song complete with mellotron, Penny Lane-trumpet and all. It's called Cheese And Onions and sounds even more like The Rutles, another Liverpool band with a career quite similar to that of their slightly more known colleagues. In fact it's by Neil Innes, who played a major role in The Rutles (and also Bonzo Dog Band, but that's another story).

But we're in for much more. Of the 20 tracks, about five and a few song beginnings or endings are psychedelic effects and jokes, like backward recordings, chaos and a funny poem called The Poet Is In A Foul Mood, written and read by an old hippie on tranquilizers. Most of the rest is pure pop with strong melodies that won't tire you the fifth or tenth time you hear them; if you enjoy pure pop, that is. There are some nice keyboard playing here & there (harpsichord, strings, etc.), but the guitar-work and -sounds alone makes it worth while to check out the album.

The lyrics don't seem to be the main issue for the band. Some of them look like play of words or stream of consciousness in the psychedelic tradition; check out Ferry-go-round and Alderman Violet. Others are dealing with broken or non-working relationships, though the protagonists of those songs don't seem to care too much. Hello I'm Gone, Moan and Very Bad are in fact merry and the last two in particular are really beautiful, too. Very Bad has a great, simple and irresistible chorus with vocal harmonies and all, straight out of the British Isles of 1967. It's by far the most uplifting song I've heard this summer, and it would've been a big hit if the world was just.

The cover of As It Were has a lot of mackerels spread about. Mackerels around the Norwegian coast mean warmer sea temperature and summer. As It Were has been a very nice companion during my summer holiday, and I guess it will do fine during cold winter nights, too. It's Dog Age's best album so far. Let's hope it's not their last!

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You may also want to check out our Dog Age articles/reviews: Good Day, On The Garish Isles, Reefy Seadragon, Swanlake Gate.

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