If Psych Pop is Vodka, Go Dog Go is a Gin. The same great base underneath, but with its own wonderful flavour.
Melbourne based Psych Pop band Go Dog Go have certainly come out swinging. Hailing from humble beginnings in Shepperton, the four-piece ensemble has already made an impression where it counts. Their first release, a wonderful cover of Joy Division’s Isolation, scored them a place on the Triple J Unearthed Best New Music Spotify playlist and a shoutout from Tommy Faith himself. Go Dog Go’s debut single, ‘The Movie’ is certainly maintaining their impressive momentum, giving listeners a groovy first entry that feels familiar yet thoughtfully distinct.
Launched at The Gasometer early last month, ‘The Movie’ has all the hallmarks of a great psych-pop track; upbeat drums with just the right amount of processing, layered instrumentation that creates a wonderful sense of depth and an excellent blending of effects that evoke a decidedly lo-fi feel. The inclusion of a Rhodes keyboard right from the word go was a pleasant surprise and the appropriately ‘noodly’ licks and held chords lend themselves well to the distinct character of the instrument.
I cannot understate how glad I am that the bass is so forward in the mix of this track. The tone is balanced well and creates a warm muted feel with just the right amount of treble to add a good bit of punch. You can really hear those strings sing in the slides.
The bass and drums interlock well, and the drums in particular do a great job of balancing the upbeat rhythm of the track with a good amount of fills in all the right places. I’ll make special mention of the time signature change later on in this review, but I’ll state now that its flawless execution is owed in no small part to the band’s highly skilled drummer.
The vocals are buttery smooth and give ‘The Movie’ good flow between each section of the song. As much as I would have loved to hear a bit more variation in range, that may have been misplaced in a track like ‘The Movie’ and it’s abundantly clear Go Dog Go are playing to their strengths for this first entry, wisely so when their strengths are this damn good.
The guitar fills in all the space of the track with that signature chorus reverb-heavy tone so synonymous with the genre, gliding seamlessly between rhythmic and melodic roles. It’s rare to see the guitar show this much restraint in a psych-pop track, yet Go Dog Go allows it to shine where it counts, a great demonstration of well thought out instrumentation.
Structurally, the track rolls along fairly traditionally, fitting for a pop song. No section overstays its welcome and none of The Movie’s five minute run time feels self-indulgent. Every section is deliberate and builds upon each other which makes for a great finale once those synths take centre stage.
About two thirds into the track, when it ran the risk of getting rhythmically stale, Go Dog Go brilliantly introduced a time signature change that ramps up the momentum and creates a great build-up to the synth-heavy crescendo of the track’s final minute. The halftime feel of the outro is a great touch to round out the piece, and left me feeling like I had gone on a varied journey from beginning to end.
Overall, ‘The Movie’ is a welcome addition to any -mine included – indie playlist, an easy listen and a fantastic first entry in what I hope is a long discography to come. If this is what Go Dog Go are capable of from the start, I thoroughly look forward to sinking my teeth into their debut EP slated to drop some time this year.