Cross Dog Fight the Good Fight on 'All Hard Feelings'

BY Emma SchusterPublished Jun 18, 2024


Turning their usual formula on its head, Peterborough's Cross Dog aren't here to play when it comes to the politically charged All Hard Feelings. As the name suggests, they're emotional and violently unforgiving this time around. 

All Hard Feelings is Cross Dog's fifth album and their first for new label home Stomp Records. While writing All Hard Feelings, lead singer Tracy A focused on crafting lyrics that expanded on Cross Dog's previous connection with their audience based on shared values, to include the often incredibly emotional experiences that those values contribute to.

Many punk bands claim that their lyrics are in your face, but Cross Dog puts those words to action with their vocal production. On All Hard Feelings, each word, whether screamed or spoken, is prominent in the mix, ensuring that not a single syllable is lost. Engineered and produced by Scott Middleton at High Wattage Cottage, the quality of care and pride put into this project is palpable. 

Cross Dog use their heavy guitar and fast drum beats as a call to arms, weaving the idea of cutting ties from lackluster political leadership through the album in songs like "Chokehold" and "Dead Battery." The band works to explain that all political suffering comes from the same source. Diving into issues like drug wars, the devastation many felt after the overturning of America's Roe V. Wade ruling and police oppression, they always point furiously back to the main antagonist — the government. 

All Hard Feelings incorporates guitar riffs and stylistic influences from the worlds of hard rock and metal, but it's also a lyrical return to the more repetitive nature of old-school punk. In previous projects, the band has strayed away from heavy repetition and leaned into long winding narratives, while All Hard Feelings is more interested in politically charged mantras. The band allows for the lyrics and vocal melodies to churn, while forcing the guitar and bass lines to be more variable. 

"Collateral Damage" is an outlier, telling the jarring story of a sexual assault victim. The band tells an all-too-well known narrative of a woman who was unable to play the part of the perfect victim, and was therefore demonized and overanalyzed by her community for speaking out about her experience. This song has the most nuance on the album, forgoing the aggressive repetition on the rest of All Hard Feelings to paint the picture of one woman within the album's broader ideological scope. This pivot to focus on an individual story allows the band to more clearly explain how all the forms of oppression they're talking about sit within a system created to abuse. 

Cross Dog have a strong grasp on the immediacy needed to solve the issues they're so enraged by. The band refuses to mince words, calling for political change now, and are very blunt about who's to blame for the suffering they see all around them.


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