Dr. Dog: The Psychedelic Swamp Review

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By Allison Belcher
Music Reviewer

Dr. DogArtist: Dr. Dog
Album: The Psychedelic Swamp
Release date: February 5, 2016
Record Label: ANTI-records

After fifteen years, nine albums and a whole lot of time and hard work, Dr. Dog has given his fans a little something different. The Psychedelic Swamp is an album that revisits the band’s unreleased debut fifteen years later. Dr. Dog has remained consistent (almost stagnant) in his sound and style. However, with The Psychedelic Swamp, lead singer and band founder Scott McMicken decides to stray away from his typical lo-fi rock sound. Like other artists such as Tame Impala and Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Dr. Dog has decided to give the world of psychedelic-pop a try but failed to impress. While Dr. Dog surprises fans with a slightly different style, it just doesn’t seem to work. Don’t get me wrong, The Psychedelic Swamp has some pretty catchy songs but the album seems to be all over the place. Dr. Dog went far enough to put a genre name in the actual album title yet he doesn’t seem to stay true to the “psychedelic” groove that we were all expecting.

The album’s single, “Bring My Baby Back”, fails to bring any sort of pop or psychedelic charm to the mix, lacking an abundance of synthesizers which are typically what helps put an album under the psychedelic-pop genre. With a voice full of tension and power, McMicken uses his vocals to act as instruments, making the single sound more bluesy and folk-like than anything. One of my personal favorites, “Swampadelic pop”, sounded more surf rock than pop-like. “Fire on my Back” brings about a bit more hope as McMicken experiments with his vocals and and background instrumentals. The Psychedelic Swamp is a nice listen but more is expected from such a talented singer like McMicken. It’s time for Dr. Dog to evolve musically and experiment with new sounds. The Psychedelic Swamp is definitely a good starting point but when trying to submerge yourself in a new style and genre, it’s important to put your all into it, which is something Dr. Dog neglected with this album release.

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