Cards on the table time, I know One Dog Clapping (ODC), I have known him all my adult life, so I have no reason at all to blow smoke up his arse. If I didn’t like this album I would not be sat here writing this, I would quite simply tell him! The fact of the matter is, I have always been a fan of ODC . I love, his willingness to experiment, the fact he plays everything himself and the fact it is all recorded in the spare room whilst his kids are asleep.
This album feels like his most concise album to date. Opener ‘Little Britches’ has all what I would call the ODC trademarks, its garage, psych, lo-fi, punk and it just rolls with a groove. The deadpan vocal delivery of ‘Capture The Rapture’ gives way to a vocal diatribe that is reminiscent of ‘PIL’. The repetitive riff of ‘Wisdom Tree’ ends too soon for my liking but it makes way for fantastic ‘Queen of Tears’, which marks the end of the first phase of this album. The reason I say this is because the albums takes a sudden and unexpected turn with a spoken dialogue.
I an not sure if ‘Frame of Reference’ is an introduction to the seven minute ‘Legerdemain’, which is full of swirling guitars, punctuated with stoner ramblings, but I’m going to assume it is. The stoner punk of ‘Cusps’ with its almost chant like rhythms and vocals ends too bloody soon again! It feels as though the three songs are linked lyrically so I’m going to call this, ‘Phase Two’.
My imaginary ‘Phase Three’ seems to be about clever little pop songs but without the gloss and shine of which ‘Leading Actor Vs Volatile Factors’is a perfect example. The lumbering paranoia of ‘I Let My Eyes Go Crazy’ makes way for the psych pop of ‘Face The Dream’. I have to admit to not liking ‘Ur-Vogel’ at first, but on repeated listens the song unravels with complex bass lines, masses of noises and chorus that just gets under your skin.
The title track brings the album to a close, in style. It sounds, defiant, nasty, spiky, a snarling motherfucker of a song but with an underlying theme of hope (I think). Which sums up the album nicely. This album easily outstrips his previous output by a country mile, not that any of that matters because next year there will another, and another, and another, and that in itself is the whole point of this kind of artist. They HAVE to record this stuff. If people buy it great if not, fine, there will be another one along eventually. In some ways ‘ODC’ exists only in the now, there will no greatest hits, if a band is formed and these songs will get reworked,extended or shortened. Look the guy has been releasing stuff under this name for 15 years (maybe more) and I know he will be still doing so 15 years from now, so try before you buy and name your price, or don’t.