Their relentlessly sunny and timeless pop-rock has garnered critical praise (here's looking at you, New York Times) as well as the inevitable backlash of hipster ire. But it is absolutely impossible not to feel good while listening to "These Days," a track off their most recent release, "Be the Void," or most of their other tracks, for that matter.
Although members take their turns with a microphone, it is bassist and nominal lead singer Toby Leaman's wide-eyed, earnest tenor that infuses each song, whether it's about a girl ("Big Girl") or the grip of nicotine ("Die, Die, Die"), with a hopeful cast, whether the subject matter is bright or dim.
Roots-inflected, jangly guitar and harmonies that borrow from both the barbershop and the mountaintop wrap around the homestyle wisdom of Dr. Dog's lyrics. Sixties pop sensibilities frame much of their work, too -— "My Old Ways" is just a shade away from doo-wop, for example. Others, like the worldbeat stomp of "Lonesome," are sing-alongs tailor-made for an outdoor festival.
Co-founders Toby Leaman and Scott McMicken (guitar, vocals) whittled Dr. Dog's expansive, jammy sound to an acoustic set at the KDHX studios, performing a couple of stripped-down songs off of "Be the Void."