The Washington Post

Dr. Dog album review: ‘B-Room’

The group Dr. Dog will be performing in the Washington, DC area. (Louis Kwok/Louis Kwok)

Kindred spirits: Flaming Lips, Marah,
My Morning Jacket

Shows: Friday and Saturday at the 9:30 Club. Doors open at 8 p.m. 202-265-0930. $27. Friday’s show is sold out.

When the Beatles and Beach Boys entered their psychedelic phase, they didn’t stop writing compact, catchy pop songs. They merely dressed them up in the new clothes of guitar effects, sci-fi keyboards and counterpoint vocals to make their craft surprising again.

Philadelphia band Dr. Dog does something similar on its new album, “B-Room,” adding the R&B grooves of its hometown.

The most blatant homage to Philly soul is the opening track, “The Truth,” a dreamy ballad where the smooth harmonies of Scott McMicken and Toby Leaman slide over Eric Slick’s rock-solid drumming. Such tracks as “Broken Heart” and “Long Way Down” are brisker rock-and-soul numbers that resemble the Black Keys’ refreshing of garage-rock basics with production surprises.

McMicken and Leaman, the band’s main writers, can’t quite match the pop hooks of Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson. But when they come close, as on “Phenomenon” and “Love,” the left-field twists — the hillbilly banjo on the former and the wah-wah guitar on the latter — only make the hooks that much sharper.

Geoffrey Himes



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