Dusted Reviews

More Dogs - Never Let Them Catch You Crying

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: More Dogs

Album: Never Let Them Catch You Crying

Label: Monitor

Review date: Aug. 24, 2005

The rough-edged ethos of present-day Baltimore, like that of many cities in various degrees of economic distress, has produced a very idiosyncratic and energetic crowd of artists who seem to thrive on the atmosphere created by such a situation. The reactions are specific to each artist, and the manifestations of Baltimore’s influence are widespread, and processed in decidedly different ways by a diverse array of musicians. More Dogs, a trio of multi-instrumentalists who hail from Baltimore’s Little Italy, have certainly moved in a direction disparate from their Baltimorean brethren, carving a peculiar slice of Americana from their urban surroundings. Never Let Them Catch You Crying is the band’s second release, following a brief self-titled debut, and while it’s not much longer than its predecessor, the album never seems too terse.

Never Let Them Catch You Crying was recorded live in the studio, an impressive feat given More Dogs tendency to rotate instruments often, usually mid-song. In the live setting, it’s a nice visual companion to the group’s sometimes circus-like revelry. The trio’s instrumentation is their most characteristic feature, though not solely due to their impressive ability to switch things up so seamlessly (there’s not a single remnant of all the movement and transition in the final recording). What sets them apart is the way More Dogs supplement the bass/drums/guitar triumvirate with organ and an array of percussion that usually takes precedence over the use of the conventional drum kit. Vibraphone and wood blocks tend to be the songs’ rhythmic lynchpins, and triangles, whistles, and other implements make appearances as well. The sparser selections are often evocative of the old American West and the melodies of traditional songwriting, and while concrete references or connections aren’t plentiful, More Dogs make music that can sound decidedly not of this time. But no matter how clever and peculiar they can sometimes be, More Dogs have the chops for more familiar songwriting as well, evidenced by the hushed beauty of the disc’s title track and the strident, driving rock of “This is One.”

It’d be hyperbolic to say that More Dogs sound like nothing you’ve heard, but it’s more than safe to say that there’s not a glut of likeminded troupes crisscrossing the continent at any given moment. Never Let Them Catch You Crying likely won’t catch the world by storm, but only because it quite effortlessly repulses the attempts at lazy codification that facilitate such success, and is all the better for it.

By Adam Strohm

Read More

View all articles by Adam Strohm

Find out more about Monitor

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.