Golden Dogs Everything in Three Parts

The Golden Dogs have earned a rep as one of Toronto’s most energetic power-pop quintets due in large part to leader Dave Azzolini’s unbridled enthusiasm on stage. Translating such a frenetic live dynamic on record can be difficult, but the band takes an admirable shot at accomplishing just that on their debut full-length. The album is launched into orbit by "Birdsong,” a stunning distorted pop gem that owes a huge debt to the melodic cacophony created by early Superchunk. For all of the Dogs’ pronounced allegiance to the British trifecta of the Beatles, Buzzcocks, and XTC, these influences do not shine through in quite the same manner that Mac McCaughan’s perfected fragile aggression seems to have affected the band. Sure, "Balloons” and "Big Boy” are almost by-the-book tributes to XTC and the inspiring work of the Beatles shows up here as it would for any pop band forming since 1970. While there are anomalies to the band’s punked-up pop — such as the lovely Pink Floyd-ish ballad "I Don’t Sleep” and the jazzy, Latin intro of scorcher, "The Elevator Man” — the band really shines in its re-interpretation of the Buzzcocks’ energy, that was so celebrated by the crop of scrappy indie rockers who emerged in the early 1990s. In the end, the Golden Dogs amalgamate their varied influences into a unique, lively musical stew that is sure to satisfy fans who’ve caught the band in performance. (True North)