Published Aug 12, 2020Seven years since 2013's Fade Out, Dog Day are back to release their seventh album. Present shows that creative duo Nancy Urich and Seth Smith paid close attention to their musical surroundings while focusing their attention on film. The familiar gloom of their past records remains while their poppy post-punk-ish sound takes a more current, trendy approach to dreamy nostalgia.
Much of the original Dog Day lineup returns for Present, with the addition of Meg Yoshida on keys. Her arrival shows off the band's evolution, with the keys pushing some of the tracks from good to great. The reverb-soaked synth juxtaposed against the melodic sweetness of "Start It Up" takes the edge off the angst both — on the track and the record as a whole. Lyrics like "Let's meet behind the old shopping mall / Talk about the future with no care at all" reek of a suburban teen cynicism that the album delivers throughout.
The moodiness of Present reflects the trends of recent Canadian indie rock as a whole. The popularity of beachy, throwback jangle over the last few years is undeniable, and Dog Day has followed suit. Their nostalgic flare most likely comes from two places: '00s alternative and early new wave. "You Were You" has the repetitive composition and angst of Broken Social Scene, while "Pictures on the Wall" checks in with its "fellow talking heads." This is a nod not only to the obvious, but to Smith and Urich's film work. Highly referential and endearingly somber, Present is as reflective as its title is to itself. (Fundog)