Dr. Dog

Fate (Park the Van)

Phases and Stages

Dr. Dog

Fate (Park the Van)

Tripping through another kaleidoscopic retro-pop montage, Dr. Dog's fifth LP continues the Philly quintet's gaze into the fun-house mirror of 1960s sounds. The angular bursts slicing into soulful harmonies are now expected, but Fate settles the contortions slightly while expanding into folkier roots. Opener "The Breeze" flits an acoustic strum before unfolding into bopping harmonies, and the scratchy piano lead-in of "Hang On" matches the subdued ache of Scott McMicken's vocals. While the Beach Boys-cum-Beatles template still pervades, songs like "100 Years" look more toward Harry Nilsson or the Band. Unlike last year's We All Belong, the import of the band's intent isn't as undermined by their playfulness, evidenced in the bruising bass on "The Ark" and slinky, Animals-esque howl of "The Beach," though absurdist turns overpower the delicate swoon of "From" and "The Old Days." Dr. Dog evolves impressively with each album but still promises more than Fate delivers. (Dr. Dog tempts fate Saturday, Sept. 13, at the Parish.)

***

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