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El Dog - The Lamps of Terrahead

  by Adrian Huggins

published: 13 / 8 / 2009

El Dog - The Lamps of Terrahead
Label: Lo Fi Records
Format: CD


Excellent debut album from Edinburgh-based group El Dog, who with their epic, skyscraping sound draw comparisons with both Radiohead and the Smashing Pumpkins

From the start of 'The Lamps of Terrahead', El Dog sound like a grungy cross between Radiohead and Biffy Clyro. With the brooding vocals and drone sound of ‘If That Was the Last That We Met’, you can quickly deduce the Edinburgh-based act's influences. While some bands sound like drab and derivative imitations of their favourite bands, El Dog have enough individuality and more than plenty of talent to be compared to the likes of Radiohead and Smashing Pumpkins, rather than just sounding like a group of lads who have heard 'Ok Computer'or 'Siamese Dream' and tried to copy it. There is great musicianship at play here especially on the This will Destroy-esque ‘Bah Rock’ and the beautiful ‘Rhythm Tooth’ which builds up and down and as then, as its becomes quieter and quieter, really pulls its listeners in , before slapping them with some chunky riffs which build the sound right back up with epic size. Another really special moment comes in the form of the superbly-titled ‘Ha Ha Nae Joy’ which patiently creeps along and shows off the band's strengths with its imagery and laid bare lyrics from frontman Bob Rafferty. The album seems to slow right down in the middle with ‘-00’-, ‘Ha Ha..’ and ‘Fire in your Eyes' really showing off the band's cinematic and moody edge across perfectly, before bringing things back up to pace with ‘I’m in a Car’. The great thing about the band is that they do both angles so well. I found myself just as impressed and intent listening the softer side of the album as I was the heavier. The keyword I would use for this band is patience. You really have to allow the songs time to grow and get to where they seem to be taking you, the beauty of which is that you never quite figure out where this will be. Dropping twists throughout the whole album and within individual songs, El Dog have such a great sound and confidence that is often rare in bands still establishing themselves. Many great bands seem to take years and the majority of their careers to have the kind of songs this band have crafted in ‘The Lamps of Terrahead’. ‘Rebecca’s Spine’ is an inspired way to begin the closing of the album with what seems like endless build ups that take you to the edge, dangle you off then bring you back just before you concede to the drop. Laden with strings and perfectly-placed piano this song really shows the band's grandeur and skyscraping abilities. This is the kind of record that just makes it impossible to switch off at any point. You have to see what comes next and not onec does it disappoint.

Track Listing:-
1 If That Was The Last That We Met
2 A Princess, A Monkey, The Stars & The Sea
3 Bah Rock
4 Rhythm Tooth
5 -00-
6 Ha Ha Nae Joy
7 Fire In Your Eyes
8 I'm In A Car
9 Glass Of Water
10 Monster's Final Hour
11 Rebecca's Spine
12 Sham Rock

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