Dancing With Wolves: Dog Fashion Disco’s “Sweet Nothings”
Dog Fashion Disco was always a band that flew under my metal radar until, as a strapping 18 year old flusher, I came across Polkadot Cadaver on *GASP* Myspace. Entranced by their esoteric and psychedelic brand of metal, I was prompted to read into their history – thus stumbling upon Dog Fashion Disco (Fun fact: The band’s original name was Hug The Retard – Good call on the name change, guys!). Being a Mr. Bungle fan, the obvious Patton worship hooked me instantly. Unfortunately, by this time, DFD had released 6 studio albums and disbanded.
Fast forward to 2013 – The interwebs began spouting rumors that the band was getting back together with all of the original members (sans keyboardist Jeff Siegel) to perform a handful of reunion shows. During the second show, frontman Todd Smith announced that they would be recording a new album –Sweet Nothings, their first new material in seven years. After launching a successful crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo (they raised $85,000 of their $30,000 goal), the album is here.
Sweet Nothings opens with ‘Greta’, a haunting waltz that introduces the Disco boys back into their rightful throne as the leaders in avant-garde metal. The waltz doesn’t last long, as ‘War Party’ kicks in and the headbanging begins. The tongue-in-cheek lyrics set the tone for the rest of the album: “Before they set the world on fire/By decree of the only prophet/Before they strike the matchstick/And pass out big cigars”. Razor-sharp guitar riffs slowly intertwine with a full-blown horn line and the rhythm begins to channel a ska vibe à la Reel Big Fish. ‘Scarlet Fever’ is a more straight-forward rocker that could easily be passed as a Polkadot Cadaver B-side.
Dog Fashion Disco should pride themselves on how demented their music can sound at times. ‘Tastes So Sweet’ opens with a twisted parlor piano, and immediately bursts into one of the most memorable moments on the album — the chorus will be stuck in my head for weeks to come. The madness continues on ‘Doctor’s Orders’, which is so funky that George Clinton himself would bow to. ‘Down The Rabbit Hole’ showcases Brian White’s groovy bass licks and ends on a Dillinger-esque math-metal high note.
By track #9, I’m sold. This is one of the most fun (and interesting) listens I’ve had in a long time. The haunting chant of “Es ist eine kleine welt” over a wall of ethereal circus music solidifies the band’s importance in progressive music. The reggae magic of “Struck By Lightning” with the accompanying sax solo towards the climax had me rolling a spliff with my eyes closed. ‘End of the Road’ marks the end of an hour long journey – but DFD hasn’t given up yet. The slow build-up of the seven and a half minute album closer reaches its peak and drops one HELL of a doomy guitar riff that keeps your head bobbing throughout the remainder of the track — The perfect conclusion to a terrific reunion album. Welcome back, guys.
Favorite tracks: ‘War Party’, ‘Tastes So Sweet’, ‘Doctor’s Orders’, ‘Struck By Lightning’
Sweet Nothings is out tomorrow on Rotten Records / Razor To Wrist Records.