Dawg Yawp

Dawg Yawp

Old Flame Records, 2016

http://www.dawgyawp.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/29/2017

The Cincinnati duo of Tyler Randall and Rob Keenan, known as Dawg Yawp, plays music that is as unusual as their moniker. Though this album was recorded in a tiny house, the synthesizers, sitar, and guitars featured within certainly don't have a small feel. In fact, the tunes here often sound like they could soundtrack a large backyard campfire or a packed nightclub. Sure, it's folk music at its core, full of an endless stream of harmonies, but there's an electronica feel that is entirely modern and a lot of fun.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Opening tune “Maybe” is a great indicator of their formula. With lovely strummed guitars and bright electronica, it's equal parts mountain music and disco rock. The following track, “I Wanna Be A Dawg,” which isn't the only title to reference 'Dawg,' moves into blues territory, complete with a chorus you won't soon forget. Meanwhile, “Lost At Sea” gets hazy and psych-friendly in all the best ways.

The middle of the album has plenty of gems, including the soulful, pensive and rich “Not So Sure,” the warm balladry of “Need You To Know,” and the album highlight, The Stanley Brothers’ tune “East Virginia Blues” featuring soaring harmonies and bluegrass.

Some of the pair's best work occurs at the end of the album, where the sparse “Dawg” is a hypnotic and adventurous four minutes, followed by the muffled vocals and finger snapping of the retro “18 Carat.” One of the final tunes “Can't Stop” is a breakup number and one of the best uses of the sitar that sits closer to garage rock, while “I'll Quit Tomorrow” is a folk duet that almost sounds like holiday music.

Visions of Mumford & Sons, Paul Simon, and George Harrison's time with the sitar are hard to escape when listening to this debut album. Ultimately, though, Dawg Yawp is truly a unique outfit and this is a fine, charming listen.

Rating: A-

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