Metamorphosis. Whether it’s the caterpillar becoming a butterfly or a streak of paint leading to a portrait, the transition from what we know to what we inevitably conceive is often a linear point A to point B. In my recent experiences reviewing music that case is often the same, whether it be the usual six solemn strings, plying pianos or overstepping overdubs taking hold of the mix. But occasionally, I manage to discover bands that tear the roof off of what I typically anticipate.
Cue Los Doggies, a New Paltz, NY-area prog-rock group that takes that anticipation (as well as genre) and throws it into a creative landscape that’s as innocently twisted as the heart of any Wes Anderson film. Their April 2014 release “e’rebody” (pronounced air-buddy) is a barrel full of complementary synonyms; child-like yet unmistakably adult, melodic but spacy, classical yet aspiringly adventurous. It takes the tongue in cheek lacerations of Pavement and pits them against perfume clouds of 60’s pop psychedelia (“Pari Passu”), religious choirs using metal riffs (“Buddha Thompson”), and Ed Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros rolled through a washing machine of thick guitars and cacophonous voices (“Black Out!”).
Lyrically “e’rebody” is just as much of a tangled epic as it happens to be musically. Like Man Man meets The Flaming Lips, themes are off the wall yet maintain breakneck cohesion through a realm of sex, acoustics, dying alone and the basics truths of music. All while presented through a microscope that’s as much at home crowd-surfing at a rock show as it is hitting the crescendo of a rock opera. As far as this musical canvass goes, I think it’s safe to say Los Doggies puts “e’rebody” through an avant-garde firing squad that’d make Salvador Dali proud.
But melted clocks and mustaches aside, “e’rebody” is a record that has more metamorphosis within it’s confines than a crystalline butterfly with stained glass wings. It flips pop, rock, shaky-handed psychedelics and prog escapism into a witches brew rife with coy humor and bizarro kid’s music. Like innocence meets LSD, Los Doggies plunges the listener deep within a warped and wicked realm that grows a little deeper and a little more strange with each playback. But that, is just part of the fun.