If the Philadelphian quintet’s name holds true, then the members of Dr. Dog most likely have their PhDs in recreating the classic sounds of ’60s pop. Reminiscent of artists such as The Band and The Beach Boys, the music of Dr. Dog is undeniably pleasing. Fate rolls along smoothly with dual lead singers Scott McMicken and Toby Leaman trading off vocal duties song for song. The variation between the two gives the album a welcome variation in sound in a genre that can easily become trite. Despite having two different songwriters, Dr. Dog has managed to create an album that is cohesive in its lyrical content. Fate deals with just what its name would propose, that great uncontrollable force that pushes and pulls our lives in various directions. The album’s opener, “The Breeze,” declares that, “what blows us here today will blow us all away.”
Stylistically, Fate is the obvious product of two different song writers. Songs such as “The Old Days” and “From” showcase McMicken’s penchant for classic pop songwriting. His songs feature charming vocal melodies and simple piano-driven instrumentation. On the other hand, Leaman’s songs are much more rooted in the blues and soul. “The Ark” and “The Beach” feature Leaman’s soulful crooning and the tight musical relationship between Dr. Dog’s rhythm section. The two finally come together on the album’s closing track, “My Friend,” a song about some chum with a pessimistic outlook on life. “My friend says that the end holds nothing more,” says McMicken at the song’s onset. Leaman‘s verse ends the song with a much more positive outlook on life. “You’ve got the whole world spinning in your head and you don’t want to give it up.”
It isn’t until the album’s closer that Fate becomes more than a collection of songs, but a dialogue between two songwriters. On repeated listens the album becomes tighter and more cohesive, a rewarding growth not found in most modern music. Dr. Dog is by no means the future of pop music, but in an age where Disney is selling more records than most major labels, it’s comforting to have someone here reminding us of our much envied musical past.

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