reviewed by Kaitlin Ruether
You just gotta love when unconventional instruments burst into a familiar genre. While at first Late Night Takeaway’s EP Dog Boy appears to be a pop-rock collection brightened by jangly guitars, the inclusion of the trombone slides (yes, slides) its way into the mix. With the addition, Dog Boy shifts into a new dimension, one where you don’t know what to expect. Add to the recipe a dash of retro effected vocals and feel your frame of reference slip away.
Once “Spanikopita” — yes, that is how they spell it — introduces the timelessness of rising awe, we are launched into tracks that never are what they first appear to be. “Run Softly” starts slow, an antithesis to the chaotic fun of “Spanikopita”, but before long kicks into high gear. Just when you’re wondering if “Sleeping in the Garden” is the most conventional track on the EP, a voiceover winds its way into the latter half of the track, then disappears again.
Part of what helps float the tracks on Dog Boy above expectation is the nostalgic vocals, fuzzed-out so as to seem like they are coming from an old radio. Mike Bremner has a clear mastery of his voice, and there are times when you wonder what a Late Night Takeaway song could do if there was less masking of his abilities. All the while, a raw danceability keeps you hooked to the feeling of revelation on Dog Boy. “Dogs in Space” features an addictive bass line, helped along by the beat, which finds a melody that not only propels bodily movement, but seems to climb inside of you as well.
Music has the ability to take you out of yourself, to let you become lost in its complexity, and Late Night Takeaway know this as well as anyone. Using unexpected shifts, a heavy dash of effects, and pure groove, this is an EP that I’d gladly follow into unknown territory.
Top Tracks: “Spanikopita”; “Dogs in Space”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good) + *swoop*