Swede (FatCat Radio)
The Definitive American Dog Album
To save time I should probably cut and paste my review of Hard from three years ago and just switch the song titles. Why? 'Cause American Dog has done it again. With Mean they've managed to raise their own considerably high bar even higher. A band ten plus years into their career and one who plays the oft looked down upon "biker rock" or "beer metal" simply shouldn't be this damn good. Nor should they continue to get better with each release. Well boys and girls, beer drinkers, and rock fans of all ages - I'm here to tell you that is exactly what American Dog is doing. There must be something in the water beer in Columbus, Ohio!!
To put it simply, Mean is the best American Dog release to date. In my opinion it has now surpassed Red, White, Black and Blue as the essential Dog album. New to the band and wanna know what these guys are about? Start with Mean and get a crash course in American Dog. The new album includes just about everything in the band's arsenal: Michael Hannon's beer fueled vocals and chugga chugga bass, Keith Pickens' skull rattling drums, and Steve Theado's guitar hero fretwork. And with nearly half the songs about drinkin', the boys continue to write what they (and their fans) know. Don't let the image fool ya though - these guys are professionals and all three Dogs are top notch musicians. As with all American Dog albums the production quality earns an A+. Joe Veirs (Sonic Lounge Studios), the band's long time producer, might as well be considered the 4th member of the group at this point.
Stand out tracks include, well, just about all of 'em! 'Cat Has Got You By The Tongue' is an obvious FatCat Radio favorite and includes some naughty talk-box action. 'Mine All Mine' would of been my choice for the lead off single as it's got hit song written all over it. 'Just One More' rocks as an opening song. 'Mean' rocks in a slumbering menacing kind of way. Hell, pick a song, any song and they all rock. I will admit to not really being a fan of 'Drivin Down The Sidewalk' and it's somewhat silly sing song chorus. 'This Ain't The Summer Of Love' we just heard on the EP of the same name a few months ago but it is a great take on the Blue Oyster Cult classic and fits in well with the rest of the tracks. I've read a couple misguided complaints online about the track 'Sunshine / Moonshine' but I think it's a damn fine song. The album is full of dynamics and this track is a perfect example. Plus, I'm guessing it will cause more than a few listeners to break out the "air drums" at the point when the tempo picks up. I guess if forced to choose, my personal favorites would be the final two tracks: 'Ain't Dead Yet', which is full of attitude, and 'Motherfucker' which once again finds American Dog championing the workin' man. If upon 1st listen the a capella ending doesn't bring a smile to your face (or at least make you yearn for a Dr Pepper) then you just don't get what this band is all about. -- Swede, FatCat Radio Network founder. February 2010