Review : The Sheepdogs - The Sheepdogs
RollingstoneOn their major-label debut, these Saskatchewan rockers – who won Rolling Stone's "Choose the Cover" contest last year – roll out taut, sun-beaten boogie that's snapped into scuzzy shape by producer Patrick Carney of the Black Keys. The Sheepdogs' talent is for variety and economy; songs that might go on for seven minutes are trimmed down to three, as they pinball from garage stomp ("Feeling Good") to Sweet-style metal pop ("While We're Young") to Allman Brothers-esque jazz rock ("Javelina!"). Listening to the Sheepdogs is like having good luck finding classic rock stations on a long road trip....full text
ConsequenceofsoundIt’s somewhat unbelievable that a band who literally won their way on the cover of arguably the biggest music magazine in history is playing Chicago at a venue with a capacity of 500. It’s equally unbelievable that tickets to see The Sheepdogs at the Double Door went on sale more than a month ago and they’re still available. (Still, it’s doubtful this stereotypically former struggling, constantly traveling band of four world-weary men from Saskatoon are complaining.) It’s just too bad that quite a few Chicagolandareans are going to miss out on some collective, ’70s rock-caliber face-melting.
Reminiscent of plenty of Rolling Stone predecessors, The Sheepdogs reincarnate CCR, The Allman Brothers, and Led Zeppelin, all of which frontman Ewan Currie noted as inspiration. He added, “I know that’s a lot of big names to be throwing around, but you shoot high and you fall somewhere.” The Sheepdogs have fallen into the land of classic rock harmonies, guitar solos as unabashedly psychedelic as the band members’ flowing locks, and melodic bass lines that totally legitimize the word “groovy” in critical commentary (hear: “Javelina!”). The fuzzy stomp-clap jam “Feeling Good” brings to mind fellow classic rock revivalists The Black Keys’ “Gold on the Ceiling” (fitting, as Patrick Carney produced this record), “I Need Help” could be in the credits to Dazed and Confused, and “In My Mind” plays with Ravi Shankar’s sitar....full text
AllmusicThe Sheepdogs' first big break came in the summer of 2011, when the hard-touring Canadian band won a contest that put them on the cover of Rolling Stone, the first time the magazine had put an unsigned act on the front page. That's more than fitting, since the band's music and style harken back to a time when most rock groups dreamed of someday gracing that magazine's cover; the Sheepdogs' self-titled major-label debut is an easygoing but hard-grooving set of boogie rock that would have sounded fine pouring out of dorm room stereos and/or 8-track tape decks in 1974. The Sheepdogs are unapologetic in their love of vintage Southern rock and party-hearty barroom boogie, and that's one of the reasons why this album works so well -- these guys don't come off as revivalists, but rather four dudes who play this stuff because it comes naturally to them, and though their influences are clear, they've synthesized them into a personality of their own that's organic and genuinely likable. There's a winning modesty to Ewan Currie's lead vocals that's devoid of a preening attitude while still sounding passionate and forceful, and Currie and Leot Hanson's guitars lock in tight on their dueling lead lines, while bassist Ryan Gullen and drummer Sam Corbett push this music forward with the funky, dependable insistence of a VW microbus. The closest kin the Sheepdogs have in contemporary music would be some of the shaggier acts on the jam band scene, but thankfully, this act understands the value of songcraft (only two songs here crack the four-minute mark), and the tunes have a warm, midtempo pulse and a melodic warmth that doesn't wander off the track or overstay its welcome. The Sheepdogs often sounds like the album Stillwater (the fictive band in Cameron Crowe's film Almost Famous) never got to make, and if none of these songs sound quite as anthemic as "Fever Dog," "While We're Young" sure comes close, and all in all, this LP is an unpretentious delight. With any luck, this will keep the Sheepdogs in the honorable occupation of playing North America's better roadhouses for the next few years; if ever there was music made to accompany a few cold ones on a Saturday night out with the guys, this is it....full text
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