Listening to Dog Day’s Night Group, I feel a sense of nostalgia. I’m graduating from high school, going to college, learning to adjust on my own, fighting my roommate over music rights, eating Frosted Mini-Wheats. It’s all a very vivid picture. This must sound absolutely absurd, for Dog Day’s debut album was seven years away from being released at the time. And yet, such is the familiar, lovable charm of this scrappy trio, bringing to mind all of the records I was listening to at the time—Pavement, Sonic Youth, The Pixies, Superchunk—it’s hard not to be endeared by a band like this.
In particular, one such college favorite of mine to which Dog Day draws parallels is the Northwest outfit The Pinehurst Kids, whose spunky, punky pop kicked my ass into adulthood. Halifax’s Dog Day shares a similar affinity for three-chord jangle and urgent, upbeat rhythms, bopping and pogoing with heart and sophistication. After the repeated buzzing of bass strings, the trio kicks off the album with their hyperactive, awesome single “Lydia,” which blows off the doors, kicks out a few catchy choruses and gets the hell out before 1:45 even rolls around. They’re not messing around.
With a bit less distortion and slight nods to The Cure and The Smiths, “End of the World” and “Oh Dead Life” find a moodier melodicism in the group’s aggressive pop approach. New wave synths drive “Know Who You Are,” a goth-flavored standout that abandons none of their youthful boisterousness. Minimal, yet explosive with sonic glee, Dog Day approach each song with as much fight as possible, as evident on the start-stop rhythm jumble “Vow.” Such a record makes little sense being released on Tomlab among the likes of The Books, Xiu Xiu and Patrick Wolf. But surely even Jamie Stewart couldn’t find fault with the keyboard-happy title track.
It’s only natural for me to get caught up in the energetic bliss of Night Group, for those very albums it brings to mind, be they Pavement, Pinehurst Kids or Pixies, are albums that I still listen to and treasure to this day. So, here, this Nova Scotia outfit has added another album to play on repeat for years to come and be reminded of my quarter-century years, as well as those in which my days were choreographed to “Cut Your Hair” and “Debaser.”
Pinehurst Kids – Viewmaster
Superchunk – Here’s Where The Strings Come In
The Pixies – Surfer Rosa
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.