Track Dogs’ latest album, ‘Serenity Sessions’ pretty much does what is says on the packet; filled with laid back Sunday afternoon vibes, it is a feel-good, chirpy collection of tunes.
As the album opens, you wonder if it is going to break into a jangly version of Pink Floyd’s ‘Us and Them’, but when the trumpet comes in, it’s transformed into the sunny weekend track ‘To The End’. One of the stronger songs on the album, it makes a nice starting point. The brass really brings the song to life.
Though their sound fits in generally with the ‘Americana’ genre, the style varies from country and pop to bluegrass, folk, blues and balladary. Made up of two Irishmen, and English and an American, this band of expats are based in Madrid, where they have been gaining traction; they were awarded grants by Spain’s Ministry of Culture, and even played at SXSW festival in the US.
The instrumentation on the album is interesting, and features ukulele, trumpet, banjo and a Cajón, as well as the usual guitar, piano and bass providing the basis. The trumpet in particular is a great addition, and makes their music sound sophisticated by giving it a jazzy feel. Their music seems like it would lend itself well to live performance, and provides a good soundtrack to a chilled out afternoon in the sun.
The band has an obvious sense of humour, which would fit well into a live set. They were recently seen pulling out their instruments and serenading an EasyJet flight delayed at Gatwick Airport, with a Spanish-infused impromptu performance on their way back home after their recent tour in the UK.
The very literal lyrics of the album verge on being corny at times while delivering many feel good, ‘chin-up’ messages. But the harmonies are strong; the voices that blend together in tracks such as ‘Orion Sees’ and ‘Broken Strings’ add a lot to the music. In fact, their harmonies and instrumentation are really their main strength, and show their musical proficiency.
The single ‘Bon Scott, He Rocked’, is a cheesy, cheerful bluegrass tribute to the former ACDC front man. The video clip matches this feel with the four band members standing around a microphone in a darkened room, playing banjo, guitar, double bass and shaker, leaning in together every time they sing to share the mic. It’s difficult to know whether the song is meant to be taken seriously, but it is definitely a foot-stomper.
‘Love Me Like You Used To’ has a quirky intro, and a sultry feel to it. It mixes their jangly country-pop sound with almost a 60’s blues feel. This is juxtaposed by the military-type chant ‘The Lights Went Out In Cotos’, which seems out of place on the album, but once again shows how varied the songs are.
‘Serenity Sessions’ is out now via Mondegreen Records.
This Track Dogs review was written by Jen Taylor, a Gigsoup contributor. Edited by Stephen Butchard