Back in August we let the dogs out (yes, it was us) and premiered the track “White Van” by Chicago pop-rock crooners Dogs At Large. Well that little pup of a track has grown into a full fledged doggo. OK actually it’s an album called Overpass and I swear that’s the last dog joke I’ll make.
Released at the end of January this jazzy soft-rock album is about as non-offensive as they come. In a world of political upheaval and musicians turned activists it’s nice to remember that music doesn’t always have to be aggressive to be powerful.
Musically, the album is a melange of decades worth of styles tossed into a lush collection of polished pop songs. Certain tracks have a doo-wop kind of swagger to them. “White Van” & “Purple Room” for example sound like they’d be right at home at the Enchantment Under The Sea Dance while “Willow” feels a touch more modern with an of Montreal meets The Shins vibe… but in 1986.
Don’t let those first few tracks fool you, there are some rockers on this album too. “Palmisano” is an upbeat groove that is real reminiscent of The Cure circa “Boys Don’t Cry”.
In case the recent political climate has got you down let the dreamy “Joe Biden” remind you of different times.
Another standout is the brilliantly produced “Ashland & Grand” that resides towards the end of the album. The actual Chicago intersection does not even begin to live up to the epic beauty found in this track. Layers of vocal harmonies, organs, and saxophone swirl around and fuse together to make an instant favorite that you’ll keep coming back to.
Singer, songwriter, composer, and producer Sam Pirruccello has crafted a really beautiful collection of songs with the help of some talented musicians and studio engineers.
All in all, fans of the ’80s will love this album. The clean chime-y guitars and crystal clear production is something oft ignored in Chicago’s lo-fi garage rock scene where most of the time the shittier your record sounds the better it does. Dogs At Large took their time on this and put some serious love into these 10 songs. It might turn off some of the rockers and punks but for those of us that just want to sway it’s the perfect prescription.
Stream the entire album via bandcamp and be sure to pick up a Limited Edition tape copy while you’re there. Catch the band live on Thursday, February 22nd at Tonic Room (2447 N. Halsted St.) and cut a rug to these tunes in person!