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Design By Humans
Published On: Wed, Jul 29th, 2020

Sundogs: The Code

Sundogs
The Code
(2085863 Records DK)

Buy it at Amazon!

Guitarist Stan Snow and keyboardist Jed Moffitt lead their Seattle-based Sundogs through some smart melodic songwriting and strong playing on their new release The Code.

What amounts to not much more than a quick hard rockin’ riff, high piano ticking and some chorus-like shouts of the title “I Want It Now,” opens. Then we are into the funk of “Mystery Car,” and Jed Moffitt’s low, almost Zappa-like vocal delivery. The horns slip just the right amount in a tune that overstays its welcome at just under five minutes. Still, it’s pretty cool.

“Pick It Up,” for me, is the first standout. It’s unlike the pop attempts of the songs before it and a good amount after, a sly jazzy stab. Again, Moffitt’s odd but effective vocal works, Ben Smith’s drumming is spot-on and Snow quite tasteful with some clean slip and slide guitar noodling. It is right up there with “Jennifer,” another of the better songs here that shows up later, with an electric piano upfront. Both are of a Steely Dan-ilk, wonderful gems, with just the right amount of Moffit’s sardonic delivery.

“Ride,” slows stuff down. It’s a nice pop blues number. Again, Ben Smith makes his very tight, perfect drumming known, and Snow sedately places his leading. A piano and high-flying lead inform the title track, one of the obvious big singles from this album, while Yes’ Alan White drums on “Freedom,” a CSN-like vocal mélange.

I am slightly fonder of the quirkier side of the Sundogs’ sound than the guitar-led melodic moments, even they are rendered expertly. The Code is a very solid release indeed.

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Sundogs: The Code