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Friday, January 27, 2012

(the) Laughing Dogs - s/t

Name: (the) Laughing Dogs
Album: s/t
Year: 1979
Style: Power Pop, Classic Rock
Similar Bands: Jellyfish, Badfinger, Steely Dan, The Knack, Sorrows, Hawks, Billy Joel, Queen, Journey
"One-Word" Review: All-Purpose-Power-Garage
Based Out Of: NYC
Label: CBS, Columbia Records
Laughing Dogs - Cover, Sleeve & Record
Laughing Dogs - Back, Sleeve & Record

Laughing Dogs (1979)
  1. Get 'Im Outa Town 3:26
  2. Low Life 2:56
  3. No Lies 3:00
  4. Johnny Contender 3:19
  5. Reason for Love 2:19
  6. I Need A Million 2:54/
  7. It's Alright, It's OK 3:17
  8. I'm Awake 3:14
  9. Round & Round 4:20
  10. It's Just the Truth 3:48
  11. Get Outa My Way 2:46
Album Rating (1-10): 8.0

Members & Other Bands:
Ronny Carle - Vox, Bass, Harmonica
James Leonard - Vox, Guitar
Carter Cathcart - Keys, Guitar, Vox
Moe Potts - Drums, Vox
Eric Block - Assistant Engineer
Bruce Botnick - Producer
Keith Brown - Assistant Engineer
Tom Dwyer - Assistant Engineer
Rob Freeman - Engineer, Mixing
Breuer, Finkel, Koplik - Management
Andrea Klein - Design
Josh Berg - Design
Jerry Abramowitz - Photography
Wally Traugott - Mastering

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of these guys. From the looks of the gritty, black & white sepia artwork, I’m gonna guess they are Pub Rock. That is also derived from their clothing on the back. They look like dressed up working class, and the boy and his dog image on the front supports a working class mentality too.

Album Review: “Get 'Im Outa Town” rings in with an electric guitar strumming one annoying note. Then a piano driven Billy Joel type song begins with smooth ELO vocal harmonies. But there is a dark tone underlying the song that comes from the guitar that began the song. Otherwise, this is straight up power pop. The lead vocals sound like Billy Joel too.
“Low Life” also treads the line of straight up power pop with a foot in the door of pub rock, thanks to the guitar sound. In the sections where the guitar is mixed in the background, the song bops along with smooth production and vocals, but then the chorus grows a little darker. The lead vocals remind me a lot of Jellyfish here. And the chorus is a harmonized, near prog, group effort.
“No Lies” is a piano waltz. It sways side to side with high pitch near-yelling vocals. But the chorus is again harmonized like Jellyfish or Queen, and is very “My Best Friend” catchy. The piano melody reminds me of something out of “Little Shop of Horror’s.”
“Johnny Contender” is a rollicking honky-tonk bar-blues song. It starts off with a yell, and rolls right along with a confident swagger. The chorus is harmonized too, but strangely does not detract from the momentum or the image of the song. The end of the song brings out a “Bad to the Bone” bass section.
“Reason for Love” is a harmonica driven Big Star or ELO power pop song with a very catchy bass hook, and harmonized vocal melody. It is a little bit like the verse to Steve Miller Band’s “Rock n’ Me’.”
“I Need A Million” is a fast, rocking, near-classic rock / glam song with melodically manic lyrics. The song is driven by the fact that it keeps on building, and never finds that release.

“It's Alright, It's OK” wades into the bluesy pub rock pool with a soulful guitar and pulsating rhythm. It evolves into what could be a Journey song by the time it gets to the chorus.
“I'm Awake” starts out exactly like another song I reviewed called “Hang On” by Axe. It has a bouncy piano and bass beat. But this song has a 60’s garage rock feel to it, accented by the harmonized backing vocals that give it a little psychedelic twist.
“Round & Round” is a bit slow, gloomy and reflective in the beginning, sounding like a sad story song. Actually it reminded me of Sound Garden for some reason. But as the song moves forward, the vocals and chorus are more rooted in true classic rock, not alternative’s filter of classic rock. Actually there is one little vocal twist that reminds me of David Bowie. So there is a bit of a Glam quality to it too. The last instrumental minute of the song features a freak out on a bluesy organ sounding keyboard.
“It's Just the Truth” starts with the same drum beat from The Box Top’s “Letter.” But the song begins with the chorus, a harmonized poppy hook that reminds me of Jellyfish. Even the lead vocals sound just like Jellyfish, especially when the vocals get excited and energetic. Ok, so it sounds a lot like Badfinger too, but that’s just because there is a whole string of similar sounding bands.
“Get Outa My Way” begins like Pinball Wizard. Then it really kicks into garage rock mode. And it also reminds me of Soul Asylum’s “Get on Out” when it hits the chorus. With Rolling Stones backing “Do-Do-Do’s”

Stand Out Track: It's Just the Truth


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