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Published: 2008/07/22
by Pat Buzby

Fate – Dr. Dog

Park the Van

If you write about music long enough, eventually youll need to deal with the topic of buzz. Some writers enjoy creating it, some like latching on to it, others prefer trying to thwart it.

As the sheaf of articles I received with this CD makes clear, Dr. Dog has buzz. Whats more, much of it comes from fellow musicians (My Morning Jacket, Jeff Tweedy, Beck). And in an era where only hip-hop artists seem to be able to get people to buy CDs anymore, theyve created it by going against the tide by being a happy, mildly psychedelic, Beatlesque band making live-sounding records with lots of harmonizing. (Although they have also picked a band name that may make some mistake them for a hip hop artist.)

Does Fate make me subscribe to the buzz? Only partially. The issue is that although the singing often has the man-just-out-of-rehab-rediscovers-lifes-simple-truths tone of Sky Blue Sky, these guys havent been to rehab. Or, to bring up their older influences, a reason why the sunshiny Beatles and Beach Boys songs hit home is that there was always a bitter revelation or acid nightmare just around the corner. The vocal hooks of Dr. Dog songs like Hang On or From stick in the mind, but after a while the talk of making angels in the snow and choo-choo trains leads to sugar overload.

The experience of being a buzz band tends to lead to a more complicated vision of life. While Fate reflects the innocence of a band just coming into buzz, going through it may add the heft that this music could use.

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