Canadian four-piece rock outfit The Sheepdogs will release their fourth LP in early October. This feel good, self-titled record takes the listener on a journey through time; borrowing from Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Allman Brothers, and Steely Dan, yet The Sheepdogs is intrinsically connected to modern rock.
“Laid Back” sets the relaxed tone of the record, and while it is in no way the strongest of the album, is a likeable track that got my head nodding. “Feeling Good” has a distinctively old school sound. Fuzzy guitars layered with rhythmic claps and three-pronged harmonies. “Alright Ok” has a country feel possibly hailing from the bands small-town roots. A pretty average song, mostly due to the continuing reassurance from leader singer Ewan Currie that he’s okay, he’s alright and he’s got time. Too much time maybe.
The band slow things down and channel Creedence Clearwater Revival on “Ewan’s Blues”. Yet, they bring a soulfulness to their own brand of soft-rock that is contagious, with a catchy piano-loop introduction. This two minute and thirty track left me wanting.
One thing that becomes evident whilst listening to this record is the bands inclination to repeat lyrics over and over during choruses. Which can get stale and repetitive. A prime example of this is “The Way It Is”. Where by the end of the song you definitely find out that “everything is just the way it is”.
“Javelina!” is by far the most exciting, and surprisingly experimental track of the record. An instrumental odyssey with shades of Tame Impala. With timing change-ups, and epic effects-driven solos, making for a stand out song.
Ewan Currie’s likeness to John Fogerty is none more evident than in “I need help”. A simple yet effective track, showcasing the band’s skills with their respective guitars. “Is Your Dream Worth Dying For?” lets harmonies shine. A staple for any classic rock outfit is the three-part harmony. A trait The Sheepdogs have got locked down.
The record seems to hit a plateau for the next three tracks, but by no means are these songs un-listenable. With some nice guitar work in “How Late, How Long”, and some classic steel slide in “Sharp Sounds”. “In My Mind”, slowed down the pace of the record, when I wanted this style of rock to be all up in my grill. “While We’re Young” attempted this, but after 13 tracks I wanted to return to earlier in the record when I was surprised. I needed The Sheepdogs to finish strong. And while “It Ain’t Easy To Go” reflected their obvious influence from the rock and roll of the past. It never really hit the mark for me.
A solid record early, fading out to an average end.
Review Score: 7.3 out of 10