After impressing me at Vantastival this year I was really looking forward to hearing the new album from 'Master & Dog'. The debut album 'Dinosaur' when they were John, Shelly and the Creatures had some good moments on it but because the 'Love May you Reign' was so well known and so different to the rest of the album it created confusion. Fast forward to a simpler name and the release of a bunch of great songs packaged beautifully in a cardboard case.
The album kicks off in epic style with a song called 'Small Time' which creates very contrasting sounds from gentle vocals to crashing full on sounds to great effect. I love the striking lyrics of 'The Way That You Stand' while the lead single 'Canada' is a great song with very positive lyrics about making a new start in life and emigrating.
There's a nice 'Americana' feel from some of the tracks. 'Bare Cedar' is a lovely delicate song full of charm and atmosphere. It's one of my favourite Irish songs of the year. The other track to appeal to me is 'All Hell Broke Loose' with it's fine vocals and gripping lyrics. Lead vocals on the album is shared by Walter, Phil & Ger so there's real diversity on the album in terms of vocal styles. Lyrically this is one of the best albums of the year.
In general I adore the album from tracks three through to nine. These songs are all outstanding and for me provide a core element or theme to the album. While there's nothing wrong with the first two tracks I hope people make sure they reserve judgement until they listen to well written songs like 'Bare Cedar', 'Devil Knows How' and 'Canada'.
Master & Dog - Self-titled [11 out of 12]
More info: http://www.masteranddog.com/
31st August Black Box, Belfast **Album Launch**
2nd September Electric Picnic Festival, IRE
21st September The Listening Post, Coleraine, UK **Headline**
27th September The Cloth Ear, Belfast **As part of Arthurs Day celebrations**