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Dodson and Fogg - Warning Signs

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 19 / 6 / 2015

Dodson and Fogg - Warning Signs
Label: Wisdom Twin Records
Format: CD


Eighth album from Chris Wade’s Dodson and Fogg project finds the multi-instrumentalist expanding upon his sound even further whilst retaining its distinctive 60's psychedelic and folk influences

Maybe we were being naïve but we thought that with all his other projects Chris Wade would have to put his work under the Dodson & Fogg name on hold for a while after the last Dodson & Fogg album, ‘And When the Light Ran Out’. That album was released less than four months ago and was the seventh Wade had produced under his Dodson & Fogg banner in four years; with all Wade’s other current projects we can’t begin to imagine where this extraordinary singer/songwriter finds the time. But here it is, ‘Warning Signs’, the eighth album by Wade’s alter-ego Dodson & Fogg, a dozen more songs following much in the same vein as the previous albums Wade has issued under that name and just as compelling and addictive as its predecessors. On ‘And When the Light Ran Out’ Wade expanded his sound a little, not to mention the length of some of the tracks, to create what has proven, over time, to be some of his most ambitious music so far. While not forsaking the sound that he has become known for, this time one gets the feeling that Wade has enhanced his sound even further on certain tracks by introducing a rock and roll element. Wade’s dreamy vocals and his still underrated skill on the guitar are still at the forefront of all the songs. Songs such as ‘You Can Make It’ distill all that we have come to love about Dodson & Fogg’s sound (a lazy summer afternoon, when all that matters is that glorious, almost otherworldly, sound that Wade creates which takes you away from the world and all your troubles; listening to Wade is like replaying your favourite dreams in your head over and over). There is, however, a rockier edge that cuts through some of these songs at times. But being as unpredictable as we’ve now come to expect, Wade doesn’t dwell too long on any one genre. The closing ‘Your Work is Through’ is a lengthy piece which takes in at least three distinct changes while never losing its thread. It’s over three minutes before Wade’s vocals make an appearance, and before they do emerge Wade creates a piece of music that shows why this one-man band is truly in a class of his own. The compelling keyboard dominated first section eventually fades as Wade introduces his fluid guitar playing; there’s Wade’s by now trademark trick that for all the beauty displayed in his instrumental pieces something is not quite right. This feeling of unease, the unexpected, is one of the factors that make Wade a cut above his contemporaries. It’s a little like watching a David Lynch directed version of a Lewis Carroll novel. There’s also a distinct Beatle-esque sound that surfaces during this track and which occasionally makes an appearance throughout the rest of ‘Warning Signs’. It’s been fun over the course of the seven Dodson & Fogg albums to pick out what we assumed to be Wade’s influences. These ears have always picked out a lot of early Bolan in Wade’s work and there’s no denying that Syd Barrett, the Incredible String Band, Donovan and at least a couple of Beatles have also played their parts in shaping Wade’s vision. But with Wade’s almost lysergic unique vocal style and eight albums in, all those comparisons now seem futile. It’s about time that we appreciated Wade for what he is; a musical innovator who, while not afraid to use the past for inspiration, is actually fast developing his own unique style. No, make that developed. ‘See the Warning Signs’ opens this album, and is instantly recognisable as a Dodson & Fogg song. Wade’s talent of evoking a warm, friendly atmosphere is there from the first few seconds. When his vocals come in it’s like welcoming home a long-lost friend. The listener can’t help but be enveloped by the whole sound, the whole experience, even if the lyrics are often at odds with the warmth that Wade’s sound evokes. The following ‘You Got to Move On’ displays Wade’s folky pop leanings. That this talented multi-instrumentalist made every sound on this track is just further proof that Wade is still vastly underrated. It’s no exaggeration to say yet again that Chris Wade is one of our most talented musicians. ‘Following the Man’ lyrically shows why Wade is often compared to Ray Davies, with its sharp lyrics easily on a par with ‘Dedicated Follower of Fashion’. With a punky, early sixties garage-band vibe about the whole affair, it reveals a side to Wade that isn’t so often aired. ‘Maybe When You Come Back’ is one of the songs that shows an edgier Wade. His vocals are more upfront which is unusual, but a welcome change. The lengthy instrumental fade, dominated by handclaps and Wade’s searing guitar work, is yet another indication of how talented Wade is when constructing a song. He certainly knows how to hold the listener’s attention. Apart from Nick Jolly’s trumpet on one song and Valerio Antognelli’s saxophone adorning two tracks. the only other guest on ‘Warning Signs’ is Ricky Romain. Romain’s sublime sitar playing has embraced songs on the last few Dodson & Fogg albums and Wade’s music lends itself to this instrument brilliantly. It’s an expected part of any Dodson & Fogg album now, and ‘Everything Changes’, the one song on ‘Warning Signs’ that features Romain, benefits greatly from the use of the sitar. Wade’s dream-like vocals suit the Eastern feel that the instrument lends to the song. Anttognelli’s subdued sax playing on ‘Just Stumbling Round’ compliments Wade’s blues-inspired guitar perfectly, once again confirming that for all his earlier admitted prog-rock and folk influences there is so much more to Chris Wade than he’d have you believe. It still feels, four years and eight albums later, that there is still so much to discover about this musician. ‘Oh What a Day’ could only have been created in England; recalling the strain of pyschedelia that was unique to our own little isle it conjures up images of a more folkly Idle Race. Wade shows absolutely no signs of slowing up, and it’s remarkable that after so many albums in such a short space of time that he can still come up with the goods. ‘Warning Signs’ is yet another chapter in the ongoing saga of one of our most underrated, talented and unique musicians. While Wade is undoubtedly looking over his shoulder at his own musical heroes. he is creating music overflowing with his own ideas and unique vision. There are few that can even come close to talent as deep as this.

Track Listing:-
1 See the Warning Signs
2 You Got to Move On
3 Following the Man
4 Can You See
5 Maybe When You Come Back
6 Everything Changes
7 Just Stumbling Round
8 The Woman Who Roamed
9 Oh What a Day
10 Give It a Little More Time
11 You Can Make It
12 Your Work Is Through

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