The Golden Dogs

3 1/2

The Golden Dogs3 1/2
3 1/2 is the Golden Dogs' fourth record (or third and a half record, I guess?), and their first since 2010's Coat of Arms. It comes on the heels of a lineup change that sees longtime keyboardist and co-lead vocalist Jessica Grassia move behind the drum kit, and two new band members (bassist Alejandro Cairncross and guitarist/keyboardist Stefanie McCarrol) brought into the fold. Leadoff track "Decided" suggests the Dogs have moved beyond the straight-ahead power pop sound of their previous records.
With a slick R&B sheen, a funky falsetto chorus and an outro that sounds cribbed from the Nintendo game Contra, "Decided" is a definite standout. The rest of the record is (mostly) more of what you'd expect from the Golden Dogs, with the throwaway but admittedly very catchy single "Do It For You" leading the charge. They do play around with a few more experimental touches — see the extended, ambient coda on "Spider Legs," and the instrumental metal-lite CIA torture jam "MK Ultra" — but these are mostly solid, somewhat forgettable pop rock tunes. Even though there is nothing here that will appear on your mix tapes as often as "Construction Worker" from 2006's Big Eye Little Eye did, all signs point to a band in transition.
With a few standout moments promising interesting things to come from the revamped lineup, 3 1/2 suggests that these Golden Dogs should continue to roam. (Independent)
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