Dr. Dog — Shame, Shame (Anti-)

Dr. Dog is one of those quintessential “hard-working” bands, plugging away since the turn of the millennium without ever quite reaching big-draw status. Maybe that’s because its The Band-like blend of psychedelia and pure Americana has never quite aligned with the other revivalist trends that cropped up over the decade — it’s too straight for freak-folk, too R&B-influenced for the Byrds’ flock, too antiquated for the new New Wavers.

Eleven years into its career, the band has finally clawed its way onto the biggest indie in the business, and Shame, Shame makes it clear that Dr. Dog is aiming for mass appeal. None of the songs stray too far from the template set by 2008’s Fate, but that’s not exactly a complaint — when you’ve established a propensity for rich dual-vocal leads, rock-solid musicianship and breezy AM radio hooks, it’s understandable that you’d embrace the old chestnut of not fixing what ain’t broke. The few stabs at expanding the sound, like the Summerteeth-via-Levon Helm rocker “Later,” go over like gangbusters, and access to Anti’s coffers means the band sounds better than ever. So what if there’s a bit of “more of the same” going on — at least this time, someone’s listening.

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