The Popdogs' debut album, 'Cool Cats For Pop Dogs' will be officially launched during IPO Liverpool and will be available for sale during IPO Liverpool from the IPO's merchandise stall situated in The Cavern Club. The Popdogs performs live at The Cavern Club (Back Stage) as part of the International Pop Overthrow Festival in Mathew Street, Liverpool, UK. L2 6RE. Day 4 of IPO Liverpool starts at 12pm with The Popdogs on stage from 8pm on Friday, May 17th 2013. Free entry. All ages show.
The Popdogs' debut album, 'Cool Cats For Pop Dogs' will be officially launched during IPO Liverpool and will be available for sale during IPO Liverpool from the IPO's merchandise stall situated in The Cavern Club. The Popdogs performs live at The Cavern Pub as part of the International Pop Overthrow Festival in Mathew Street, Liverpool, UK. L2 6RE. Day 4 of IPO Liverpool starts at 12pm with The Popdogs on stage from 4.45pm on Friday, May 17th 2013. Free entry. All ages show.
The Relentless Turn The Tide Tour 2012–2014 Goes To Liverpool The Plastic Pals on the bill for festival International Pop Overthrow Liverpool 2013
Sounds Like: The Beatles, R.E.M., The Ramones, Big Star, Material Issue
With a crossbreed of classic songwriting and punky powerchords, the debut album from The Popdogs ensures this is a band that’ll be far from the doghouse.
Having strained at the leash in previous projects, the members of The Popdogs have the ebullient and irrepressible sound of a band that have ...See Full Bio
The Cool Cats For Pop Dogs album is available to buy in-store and online from Skeleton Records at http://www.musicstack.com/item/23371764
“Can I just say, I am a big fan of any artist that has photos of dogs in funny hats and glasses on their album sleeve. My favourite may be the clown. That, in my honest opinion, should be enough to get you to check them out. However, I probably should talk about the music. As you would imagine from the sleeve this band is a fun pop band. Their tracks are upbeat and catchy. It is simple and effective and I haven’t heard something like this for years. Their sound is nostalgic and classic. One for both the older and younger fans of addictive guitar pop. Oh, and those who like dogs in wigs.”
“The Popdogs were the band of the night for me! They were launching their debut CD Cool Cats For Popdogs which I reviewed at the end of last year. The songs already sounded like old friends and the performance was great. The band looked like they were having a great time and that feeling oozed across into the appreciative audience. It was a cracking way to end my Friday night at IPO.”
“The Popdogs made their debut in the Cavern Pub at this year’s IPO and we can’t actually believe this was their first gig, they were that good. Lead vocalist James Styring is no stranger to the IPO having performed with Postcards Form Places That Don’t Exist in the past but since we last saw him, has undergone some sort of transformation, looking fitter and younger than we have ever seen him. The Beeb wants a taste of the Lincolnshire water! They powered through a truly fantastic set, promoting their CD “Cool Cats For Pop Dogs” which is powerpop brilliance (see our review in our spin it or bin it blog - http://spinitorbinit.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/the-popdogs-cool-cats-for-pop-dogs.html ). It was a tight, fast paced set, and the audience lapped up every song. this set was a genuine crowd pleaser. Nice one guys.”
"While I'm giving out awards - I've got one for the funniest album cover here. And the winner is THE POPDOGS! Hurrah, well done lads. Yup, the cover of the band's debut release raised a few laughs when it landed at Sport HQ. But while the laughs died out, the smiles remained upon listening to 'Cool... Cats For Pop Dogs'. This is unpretentious, unassuming guitar pop at its best. Lead singer James Styring's voice has a Beatles twang to it which gives the overall sound of the band a vintage Merseybeat texture. Another thing Styring has in common with the Scouse outfit is an uncanny ability to conjour huge, catchy choruses. Opening track 'Kelly's On' alone will take some shifting from your head after you hear it! Musically, the band have a warm, Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers vibe with jingling guitars, thick basslines and effective drum beats. Top notch."
“The Popdogs, Gig Review. The Cavern Club, Liverpool. International Pop Overthrow 2013. Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * * With over a 100 bands and groups making their way to Liverpool as part of the International Pop Overthrow, now its 11th year of coming to the city, you would expect some rather great acts to make their way to the forefront, gently guide you to some good tracks and times and leave you gasping hopefully for more. What you might not expect, especially in the city that gave pop music to the country if not Europe and beyond, was a for a group to make their way across from the sleepy city of Lincoln and give the type of performance that the bands that made Merseybeat would have said was the best way to thrill a crowd and then make that same audience wriggle with excitement at reliving those heady days.”
“IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5 THE Popdogs are certainly worth barking about. Comprised of singer and songwriter James Styring and guitarist Tim McKeating, the partnership has delivered a fun album that channels ’60s guitar pop with early indie Cast, with a little early REM and Stiff Little Fingers thrown in. It’s a quick, slick, rollicking good listen that clocks in at just over half an hour and could do with being a good bit longer. But then the best things in life are often those that leave you wanting more. McKeating’s guitar work is often cracking and even gets its own showcase on instrumental offering, Mild Mannered J, which unsurprisingly delivers one highlight. But they’re equally good around the songs. Queen of the USA, for example, sounds like classic Cast and is dripping in melody and easy-going hooks. It’s a breeze of a track that deserves to become a summer anthem. You’ll be singing along with its “where have you been hiding” chorus.”
“3 stars out of 5. Its rare that I hear a collection of songs that sound like I’ve heard them before yet they still seem fresh. Just such a thing happened when I gave a listen to The Popdogs’ Cool Cats for Pop Dogs. Catchy hooks, harmonies and Byrds-like ringing guitars are the order of the day here, making for a very enjoyable listen. Much of the album reminds me of one of by faves from the 90′s, The Blow Pops, who were also huge fans the Liverpool sound. In fact, if the lead singer, James Styring, sounded a little bit more like Mike Jarvis and the rest of the band indulged in recreational hallucinogens, they’d BE the Blow Pops. The disc opens with “Kelly’s On”, an uptempo number somewhat reminiscent of 60′s bubblegum. As a huge fan of the genre, this was a VERY good start. The Merseybeat influence is never more in evidence than on “High Time” with it’s chiming guitars and killer hook.”
“Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * When pressed to name significant figures to have come out of Lincoln, the greater population of the U.K. may struggle before coming up with the fact that one of the nation’s favourite and experienced actors in the form of John Hurt was schooled there and for those more knowledgeable will be aware that Sir Isaac Newton was born in the same county but as for its music it has remained dangerously unexplored. However something enjoyable and musically infectious is coming from out of that noble county in the shape of The Popdogs. Their debut album, Cool Cats for Pop Dogs is a decent and memorable album in every way.”
“I have read the promotional bumph that comes with the CD, I have trawled on line in search of more balanced assessments, I have listened to this CD several times and come up with my own thoughts which go something like this. The Pop Dogs are a post punk/new wave hybrid who place emphasis on mid-tempo melody and bubble-gummed essences rather than more full on dramatic outbursts. The tones suggest something 'Buggle-ish' and 'Byrd-ish', something highly sugared and a noise that is deliberately inoffensive. The production values are precise and get the best out of a band with much potential, the style quite easily picked up, played and tossed away (which in itself can bode well). The listed influences include REM, The Ramones and The Beatles amongst others and if one ponders one can see where they are coming from. So what is the end verdict regarding this release from the Lincoln lads, as per, 1, 2, 3, and in we go.”
“The Popdogs are a Lincoln based band, that unsurprisingly given the moniker, play contagious power-pop, perfect for the hazy summer days that we seem to be experiencing at minute. I could go on and give you a brief history about how frontman James Styring has previous form in the likes of Postcards From Places That Don’t Exist and they had a residency at the International Pop Overthrow Festival but in truth all you need to know is just how damn impressive this album is, so instead I’ll try to sum it up for you. To understand the sound of The Popdogs, Take prime-time Posies, Big Star, Weezer, Rhythm & Booze favourites Farrah or even Automatic For The People era R.E.M. marinade in a Beatles dressing and delicately stir in a few punchy punk like riffs bring to the boil and voila a thirty minute feast of infectious goodness. Cool Cats For Pop Dogs is a glorious ten track affair packed with would be singles and mass sing-a-longs (bar a brief, twanging instrumental).”
“The first thing that should be said about this CD, is that it shouldn't have been released in what has been the coldest winter in years. Virtually all the songs have a good time summer sound to them. This is certainly evident on opening track "Kelly's On" where the lyrics "Sugar Rush, Honey drive" are a pretty good indicator of how the song sounds. It is a very sweet and light sound with a great power pop feel to it. It's a really great introduction to the band. The general light pop theme is continued on "High Time" and "Last To New York" which, whilst having a Beatles influence with the drum sound and backing vocals, are actually really closer to The Monkees. The best song on the album, however, is without doubt "Queen of The USA". It follows a similar pattern to the other songs but is where the band really reach a power pop peak. It is a great pure pop song with the catchiest chorus on the album.”
“In recent years, I have lamented the dearth of classic "power-pop" on radio...an absence of chunky power chords, taut rhythms and sly lyrics. Perhaps I have been looking in all the wrong places. I recently found a Facebook page called "Power-pop Lovers Gather Here..." and have discovered a ton of great bands. One of these, The Popdogs, really piqued my interest... Their CD is called "Cool Cats For Pop Dogs" and the cover artwork reeled me in straight away...a dog wearing glasses and a tweedy fedora. A popdog for sure and a promise of cool to come... The band's singer, James Styring, has a unique voice that some have compared to a modern Buddy Holly, and that's certainly there, but I also heard a bit of the late Freddie Garrity, of Freddie & the Dreamers. It might just be my music geek showing, though. The overall sound of "Cool Cats For Pop Dogs" is clean and uncluttered. Instead of relying on gimmickry and artifice, The Popdogs come across in a refreshingly honest way.”
“The Popdogs - Cool Cats for Pop Dogs Review The Popdogs are James Styring - Vocals, Tim McKeating - Guitar/Backing Vocals, Phill Kay - Rhythm Guitar, Shaun Knibbs - Bass Guitar, and Martin Collins – Drums. Cool Cats for Pop Dogs is a hundred mile an hour pop-fest with all the jangly guitar presence of the Monkees. Every track doesn't start; it bursts out as if some restraint that had been holding it back was now released. Ten tracks in 30 minutes, each machine-gunning its way into your head like it only had one chance to make its mark. Nine songs and one instrumental, yes, an instrumental. Perhaps the return of the instrumental track on albums, who knows. And while I might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, there's also a song that sounds like it's about Whitney Houston; "They found her in a bathtub, her heart had stopped" from Queen of the USA. Might just be coincidence.”
“The Popdogs debut, "Cool Cats For Pop Dogs", is something of a masterclass in the art of perfecting a classic Power Pop album. Sunny singalong choruses and catchy melodies, that belie some bittersweet sentiments, are all crammed into nine of the ten short and punchy tracks. In that sense they remind me a little bit of The Fountains of Wayne on occasion, or Marshall Crenshaw. First track "Kelly's On" is a superb album opener and just as you think they cannot better it, they hit you with the second number, "Honest Guy", which in particular could make the upper reaches of any definitive "best of Power Pop" chart. Lead vocalist James Styring has a distinctive voice, a sort of Buddy Holly, Gene Pitney twang, that may be an acquired taste, but he certainly imbues each song with character and confidence. James is joined by songwriting partner and guitarist Tim McKeating and they have delivered an extremely strong album that doesn't outstay it's welcome.”
“As much as we loved Lincoln’s Postcards from Places that Don’t Exist, we are trilled that main man James Styring has unleashed his unabashed love for pure powerpop in his latest project! Fans of artists from Big Star to REM and Material Issue NEED to check out their brand new album, Cool Cats for Pop Dogs! (Yes, it is that good!) We’re also thrilled that they’ve decided to make their IPO Liverpool showcase the official release show!”
“Review: 'POPDOGS, THE' 'Cool Cats For Pop Dogs' Label: 'Big Mac' Genre: 'Rock' - Release Date: '13th May 2013' Our Rating: 9/10 If we’re working with the assumption that perfect pop songs come in round the three-minute mark, then how about an LP featuring 10 songs clocking in at exactly 30 minutes in length? OK, it’s actually 29 minutes 59 seconds according to my trusty CD player, but we don't need to split hairs on that one, ‘cos where writing perfect 3-minute power pop gems goes, Lincoln quintet THE POPDOGS know a thing or ten. It’s taken ‘em a while to get together in this current guise (singer/ songwriter James Styring formerly fronted Postcards From Places That Don’t Exist), but it’s a new writing partnership with guitarist Tim McKeating that proved the catalyst for The Popdogs and their debut LP ‘Cool Cats For Pop Dogs’: one of those apparently nonchalant little power pop gems that’s always welcome regardless of how cynical this dreary ol’ industry has”
“The Popdogs were launching their debut album, Cool Cats For Pop Dogs, in this invigorating environment, having put it back to coincide with the I.P.O. and there really was no better place than The Cavern for it to be launched. Toe tapping, uplifting and magnificent. If that’s not enough then for those who sat and bounced through the set; the chatter that could be overheard from table to table and chair to chair was of how damned good James Strying on vocals, Tim McKeating on lead guitar and backing vocals, Phill Kay on rhythm guitar, Shaun Knibbs on bass and Martin Collins on drums. If a band has got the sheer audacity to take on Merseybeat at its own game, to sound as though those days of innocence and future experience were back big time then they deserve to hear people saying how good they are as an act.”
“Similarly, the giddy Kissin’ Alicia, which combines pile-driving riffs with sentiments that celebrate love and pop culture with lyrics like “I wanna go flying to Japan… we could dress up just like two aliens, I wanna go surfing in Sudan”. Elsewhere, album opener Kelly’s On offers a sugar rush starting point that has the whiff of classic REM (even vocally), High Time channels Cast yet again and Last To New York sprints along in toe-tapping, effortlessly appealing fashion with another gem of a chorus (“don’t shake me, don’t wake me”). Wake You Baby has another of the album’s great choruses, while eschewing glamorous good looks in favour of somebody more down to earth and real, and Dancin’ Again brings the album to a close with a summery sense of nostalgia. Really, there’s heaps to enjoy. If every dog has its day, then this is The Popdogs’ moment. And long may it continue.”
““Mild Mannered J” is a cross between Henri Mancini’s “Peter Gunn” and The Records‘ Cheap detective music and is a pleasing track albeit not all that memorable. There is, however, a neat Dick Dale thing going on here and its a nice change of pace – perfectly placed in the track order. The Popdogs saved the best for last, as the LP ends with two irresistible powerpop gems, “Kissing Alicia”, a tune you simply will not be able to get out of your head, and “Queen of the USA”, the story of a party girl who just didn’t know when to stop. Go ahead, you know you wanna throw these guys a bone. Also, check out “Honest Guy”, another great cut from Cool Cats for Pop Dogs.”
“Not only does it have nothing to equate it too in the current pop offerings; which certainly marks it out as 21st century luxury, it also has the ability to make the listener think of much simpler times when the likes of Liverpool’s Gerry and the Pacemakers and the rest of the Sixties Mersey Beat generation that dominated the airwaves and thrilled and inspired subsequent generations wishing to capture that distinctive sound. Powerful pop induced radiance with the added dash of self belief in their work mark this band, made up of James Styring on vocals and Tim McKeating on guitar/backing vocals, are exactly the right antidote to the anodyne and incessant dross created by television’s so called talent shows. The Popdogs seem to have taken the proper route to getting music played and recorded whilst retaining their honest and catchy tunes’ integrity.”
“Track one and glucose loaded gumption via the pleasurable jaunt christened 'Kelly's On' - switched back cruising effortlessly played out on a pastry of divine tickling cadences that taste just oh so perfectly. The strings ascend with crisp encouragement but indeed carry a weight of their own which is richly coated by a bubbly squeak vocal escort adorned with cultured poppoid textures. Sticks neatly hop along creating that extra froth and therefore we get an exact sugar shake of rhythm that rises above the rim of the rhythmic glass and sets this CD up in appetising style. 'Honest Guy' is more toffee wrapper excitement with an initial intro that has a genuine edge to create rippling tones to caress the doubting tympanic drum. Impetus is eased along through delicate layers and all the craftwork of solid song writers is there. A foot-tapping moment interrupts, but in a polite manner, and we swing onwards on many vibrations borne of tidy, hygienic, meticulous artistes.”
“Every single track on here will weld a massive smile on your face and stamp a song in your heart, from the opening Kelly’s On, complete with wondrous harmonic hooks and punchy melodies to whoo-oh vocal refrain of album closer Dancin’ Again. Picking highlights is next to impossible, like I already stated each and every track on here could easily be lifted a single but both High Time and Queen Of The USA seem to be lodged in my head today (though I’m sure another spin will have me singing the praises for Honest Guy or Ocean Blue!!), the thing is The Popdogs seem to effortlessly craft classic stand alone classics, most bands won’t come up with nine songs as catchy as these in a lifetime let alone over the duration of one album.”
“The vocals on the album actually sound like those of a band from a few years ago called Ether, who were on the verge of having some success before suddenly disappearing. The Pop Dogs are clearly capable of writing some great catchy Pop songs which have a bit of British Fountains of Wayne type theme to them. The two best songs are certainly "Kellys On" and "Queen of the USA".”
“I have no doubt this was intentional, as these songs might not work as well in a more tarted up form. Their press release says this about the music: "Rather than taking a traditional album format, this collection takes the approach of throwing 9 singles directly at you, with twilight instrumental Mild Mannered J being the only concession to anything other than rabidly addictive pop." Having spent the last four days or so living with "Cool Cats For Pop Dogs", I couldn't agree more. The CD opens with "Kelly's On", incidentally the first song of theirs I heard on Facebook, a hooky confection with a chorus so catchy I was unable to stop singing it hours later. If I've read the lyrics correctly, it's about the kind of girl every "normal" guy has known that has blown into his life and shorted every circuit in his brain: "She's a movie in one million moves, She's a car crash in her cowboy boots"”
“For me there's a sound very reminiscent of early Cast here as well as that Monkees comparison. I'll argue against the PR company's comparison to Stiff Little Fingers. Stiff Little Fingers were all about pent up anger and frustration of youth struggling to find its voice in a world that wasn't listening. That's not The Popdogs; this is pop music plain and simple. Very good pop music at that. There's all the regulars of sing-a-long choruses, big tunes and instant familiarity that mark out good pop tunes. There's a lot of competition out there; a lot of acts sounding not unlike The Popdogs. The test will be if they can deliver live because this is made for sunny day pop festivals – so that rules out this country I suppose.”
“The city of Lincoln produces some great local bands, and these local bands can create some truly jaw-dropping tunes. Most people have a saddening habit of overlooking local music, so lets move the spotlight onto one Lincoln-based band that has me VERY excited. Today I’ll be reviewing the upcoming debut album of a group of very clever canines who really shouldn’t be overlooked, no matter who you are, or what music you like. I mean come on, throw the dog a bone. From Lincoln-based power-pop band The Popdogs comes the stunning new album, Cool Cats For Pop Dogs. The album features ten terrific tunes, including the seriously catchy “Queen Of The U.S.A”, and my personal favourite, the metrical and melodious “Honest Guy”. The songs are simply structured for the most part, but that just adds to the seamless flow that every song possesses. Easy-listening, tuneful, and catchy as hell.”
“Quirky band name and album title, splash of welcome colour on the cover, killer kitsch photo of a dressed-up dog on said cover: if the pop already mentioned twice on the artwork was preceded by the legend 'power' then we might be onto something... ...we are. The Popdogs were formed by singer James Styring and guitarist Tim McKeating, the new songwriting pairing also producing this debut platter that matters. Yes, it really does. Styring's previous band, the keenly-monikered Postcards From Places That Don't Exist, were staples at the International Pop Overthrow Festival, and, as suggested by the album's accompanying press blurb, that is an indicator as to the power pop leanings of his art and, thereby, his new band. But black words on white paper do not a power pop picture paint, I needed to be greeted by day-glo and sunbeams and cherubs singing, my cares floated away on some breeze, when I put the proverbial needle on the record.”
“Opener ‘Kelly’s On’ gives you a good idea what to expect. Brash, tuneful, fulla choruses, drop-dead West Coast-style harmonies and even a lethal, quicksilver guitar solo muscling in at the 90 second mark, it’s one of those ‘heard once, forever imprinted’ moments and it’s not alone. Within the next five minutes or so, the chugging, straight up ‘Honest Guy’ and ‘High Time”s superior spangle’ n’ jangle have followed through, trailing hints of Cheap Trick and Big Star in their wake. From thereon in, the pace rarely lets up. The yearning, semi-acoustic ‘Ocean Blue’ provides an ideal vehicle for Styring’s plaintive, Buddy Holly-esque voice and the rumbling, Duane Eddy/Dick Dale-ish surf instrumental ‘Mild Mannered J’ briefly brings things down a gear, but otherwise it’s one killer hook after another, from the Ramones-esque rush of ‘Kissin’ Alicia’ through to the vividly-realised, too-much-too-soon storyboard ‘Queen Of The USA’ (“Hotel room o”
“in the bathtub, her heart had stopped”) which appears to have been scripted about a wannabe Drew Barrymore/Courtney Love. Perhaps best of all, though, is the closing ‘Dancin’ Again’: a slice of enduring loveliness about meeting that special someone for the first time (“though I can’t deny these years are flyin’ by/I’ll remember all those days until I die”) that can’t fail to tug at the hardest of hearts. Ultimately, it’s hard to detect what’s not to love about the breezy’ n’ vivacious ‘Cool Cats For Pop Dogs’. Indeed, it seems that the attraction’s not just for Christmas, but for life. With that in mind, surely taking it out for walkies at least three times a day will surely prove beneficial for the discerning guitar pop fan’s soul.”
“The Popdogs ran through their set leaving sections of the audience breathless with anticipation for each new song that came bounding over the speakers. With tracks such as Kelly’s On, High Time, Last To New York, the fabulous Kissin’ Alicia and the excellent Queen Of The U.S.A. thrown into the set list, the group from Lincoln couldn’t go wrong at all. As album launches go, one that was far from the group’s home city and in a place where great music is appreciated if performed well, this counts as a qualified success. The Popdogs are one of the hottest groups around, they sound great and the music, obviously and rightly so influenced by a special time in the U.K., well the music is top notch. A distinctive pleasure!”
“An album full of great songs is rare in the world of mass produced popular music and not really seen in this particular way since those heady days of the first British music invasion. However in tracks such as Last to New York, the fantastic instrumental piece of Mild Mannered J and the hypnotizing Queen of the USA they assume a position of perfection years ahead of time. Whimsical and contagious, Cool Cats for Pop Dogs is utterly absorbing. There are many bands and groups that get touted as one to watch for the future; however The Popdogs are surely destined for big things.”
“The promise of not being let down holds true and I find myself thoroughly enchanted by 2 magical melodies thus far! The next song is a commercialistic saunter with shimmering sonica layered in a fluffed creamy style but, and most importantly, doesn't try to be anything else, and so avoids a punky kicking (just wouldn't be fair would it). 'High Time' is a gliding sound in sunshine skies with minimalistic touches all contributing to a fuller end output. The strings are nicely attended to and do so little yet so much, whilst the gob upholds the characteristic slant and animated subtleties. Easy music to digest and sometimes just what is needed. 'Last To New York' is a picture built on less flamboyant colours and goes for a somewhat pastel shading of sub-melancholia that entwines itself around nebulous hope that we know is there but just can't fully grasp.”
“The Popdogs are one of those rare breeds (sorry for the unintentional pun) that are both aptly named (as is the album for that matter) and do exactly what you expect them to do and yet do it so well that you’ll be humming their pop fuelled ditties for days, weeks or (no doubt) in my case months. The Popdogs have created the perfect album to soundtrack those BBQ’s and dips in the pool, so roll down the window, turn up the stereo and embrace the sheer pop nirvana handcrafted by five very cool cats!!! Rhythm & Boooze Rating 10”
“The first thing you’ll think when you start listening to “Cool Cats for Pop Dogs” is simply a person’s name: Buddy Holly. At least, it was for me. Clocking in at under 30 minutes, James Styring’s melodic, short, sharp pop songs are catchy, if a little similar at times. “Kelly’s On” opens the album and is suitably upbeat, but when “Honest Guy” starts, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a little too similar to the previous song. But an album that features a dog with a hat and glasses as its cover will always be given the benefit of the doubt in my book, so it’s a good thing that as the album progresses, the musicianship shines through. Catchy melodies, harmonies and twanging guitars resonate throughout, making for an adorable listen. In fact, “High Time” reminds of a band from my youth, Cast; that’s not bad thing. And from there on, we move into full on radio friendly pop-rock, which can be a glorious, uplifting thing at times – and this is one of tho”
"Honest Guy", the second song, could be about the same girl: "Just an honest guy, With an honest heart, But you're honestly tearing it apart. Stay with me, baby, I won't let you down." I remember back in high school, knowing girls just like this, who couldn't keep themselves from picking exactly the wrong kind of guy, but then calling me to console them when it failed. "Honest Guy" also has a nice middle eight and fine interplay between the rhythm and lead guitar lines, the kind of which one hears far too little of in these days of Protools perfection.....Honest indeed! With "High Time", The Popdogs change pace a bit, employing jangle in a way reminiscent of REM or Gin Blossoms, but fresh nonetheless. It's a tale of love unreturned, perhaps from a distance...but is it to be forever unreturned? The last verse and the bass runs in the outro suggest otherwise.
“This CD should come with a warning sticker, the consistent string of hooks and powerpop stylings could easily overwhelm an amateur listener. Thankfully after a decade of attending International Pop Overthrow Liverpool I am able to listen to it in one sitting and come out the other side a little breathless but relatively unscathed. You really do have little time to catch your breath before being plunged into another aural adventure. Any of the ten tracks could be held up as an example of how to craft a 3 minute pop song that, although brand new to the listener, already feels like an old friend. The Popdogs blend hints of classic REM with the ringing guitar sounds often found in 60s instrumentals for example the guitar on Wake You Baby wouldn’t be out of place on a Tornadoes track. The instrumental track Mild Mannered J is very Joe Meek in style, with a liberal smattering of Dick Dale and sounds like some lost classic that you find cropping up on Tarantino movie soundtracks.”
“This is a very likeable album as it has a very 'I've heard this before' feel that immediately has you accepting of The Popdogs brand of pop music. That familiarity may also be a downside but what goes around comes around. Give this a listen, you might just find yourself being a cool cat.”
“They pull it off too, these Popdogs - give 'em a biscuit and let 'em up on the couch. Running for barely half an hour, 'Cool Cats For Pop Dogs' is the breeziest, quirkiest album of its ilk so far this year. It simply breathes good vibes, from the canine aesthetic - the CD booklet is filled with amusing, borderline creepy/mental photos of dogs dressed up as humans - through to the nine breezy, hook-filled songs (instrumental filler discarded for review continuity purposes!) that owe a lot to the more radio friendly arm of the REM back catalogue. The vocals, at times, have me thinking of Paul Heaton (The Housemartins/The Beautiful South) which is far from a bad thing in my book, and there is a definite alternative radio edge to this pop. Squint your ears and you will pick out a Posies influence here, The Cars there, and there is certainly a splashback from those Fountains Of Wayne saturating several of the songs on offer.”
“This effort needs time due to the aforementioned softer finish but it has its place within the more showy executions and I personally find it quite a grower. 'Wake You Baby' has more ripple within the weave and foams up with little effort. A mid-tempo ruffle creates a road that could lead us into the second half with expectations on edge or could safely assure us that the consistency and musical methodology will remain - the latter option is taken. Not punk, but I shan't question, as the sonica thus far is well short of being disagreeable. The song itself is affluent with the bands idiosyncrasies and gives generously in many satisfying ways. A sub-quirky appeal, as always, makes that tick in the 'convinced' box a little easier to make - thanks fellas. 'Ocean Blue' smoothly opts to commingle several generic spices and I can't help placing my main vote of similarity to something 'Orbison'ised with added splashes of popsicle gentleness and honesty.”
“Of course singer/songwriter James Styring is no stranger to great songs as anyone who had the good fortune to see or hear his last band, Postcards From Places That Don’t Exist can testify. His teaming up with guitarist Tim McKeating though, has added a definite radio friendliness to the instantly recognisable vocals provided by James. Jangly guitars, great hooks and choruses, plus the added benefit of a unique and distinctive vocalist. What more can you look for in a classic POP album? Ten sparkling gems, highly recommended for anyone looking to have that faith in POPULAR MUSIC restored.”
“There are more “touchy, feely” moments though, and although Ocean Blue retains the jangling guitars and busy rhythm section, there’s a distinctly grown up feeling to what the song is trying to get across. To marry lyrics that talk about too much drinking, relationships and the like, whilst keeping that upbeat sound is a tricky thing, and The Popdogs manage it. If you’re in the market for something new, that won’t bring you down; something that’s perfect for soundtracking a summer BBQ, you might just have found it.”
"Now it's only right, That you miss that weekend, And you don't hear from your boyfriend, And we can take that walk. It's high time." The next tune, "Last To New York", plays lyrically like The Beatles' "Two Of Us", only the ending isn't a happy one. I wonder if this song is autobiographical at all....maybe a try at success in NYC that turned out to be a disappointment? Chasing a dream can often end that way. It's all set to a chugging backdrop of jangly guitars that keep things from getting too maudlin... Track five turned out to be a personal fave..."Wake You Baby" features a fade-up intro that launches into what might be the most bass-driven song on the CD. The chord change, which sounds like an F#M into an F7, is kind of unusual and really sets it apart and kicks it into top gear. Lyrically, it sounds like a kiss-off to a nameless girl and the freedom is evident in the music.
“With only the "Pipeline" style instrumental "Mild Mannered J", coming across as a bit of a throw-away, most bands would be more than happy to release the majority of these songs as stand-alone singles. I'm not sure if the band are touring, I can't find any information about dates, but it would certainly be great to hear these songs performed live. Check out The Popdogs on Facebook or Reverb Nation.”
“From the instant hit of Jolt Cola that is opening cut 'Kelly's On' through to album closer, the great 'Dancin' Again', 'Cool Cats For Pop Dogs' could well be the soundtrack to your summer and, seeing as British summers are generally short-lived affairs, perhaps the running time is a good thing. Get the flea spray out because this record will be an itch that you can't scratch. Feel good hit of the summer? Oh yeah, these Popdogs are bitchin'...”
“There is an utter freshness to this pervasive tune with a softly, softly propulsion right behind each and every note. The foundations that this track are built on are highly absorbent of all forms of attention and this one will undoubtedly turn up a few more hardcore noses but can they really find fault - no! Relaxation melody to float around to, it isn't harsh reality but purist escapism - get over it! The 60's detective instrumentalisation that comes next has me wondering if it is really needed. A slinky pulse named 'Mild Mannered J' that offers a moment to just switch off to. No hidden agenda - just a cruise along that chills more than it thrills but it offers a break in proceedings which is nicely timed. Rougher stringwork chases as we climb higher into the convincing sanguinity of 'Kissin' Alicia'. Despite the slightly more abrasive edge the heat is set to moderate and these Dogs of Pop coast through an easier number with accomplished aplomb.”
"Ocean Blue" might be the more emotional cousin of "Wake You Baby". There's definitely a break-up happening here, but one senses a great deal more regret this time around, as of a man torn between where he wants to be and where he should be. This track is a bit slower and more reflective, but still takes up residence in one's ear and isn't keen to leave. Track seven brings us to this CD's curiousity, ""Mild Mannered J", an entirely instrumental track. With a vocalist as distinctive as James Styring, why would one leave that out? I think I understand...as a change of pace, "Mild Mannered J" works well, bringing to mind a number of fine instrumental bands, like McLemore Avenue out of Austin, TX, themselves influenced by Booker T and the MG's and a host of other surf rock bands of the early 1960's. Guitarist Tim McKeating is spotlighted here.
“5/5 - 'Cool cats for pop dogs' is the debut album from Lincoln Popwerpop band The Popdogs. This is a really catchy album - imagine REM crossed with 60s pop bands and that's a good starting point. Opening track "Kelly's on" sounds like a cross between REM and 60s bands such as The Beach Boys - the catchy guitar riffs from the 60s pop plugged into REM style songs. It sounds like an odd combination (and maybe it is), but the end result is incredibly catchy songs. Like most 60s pop, the songs here are all short, with just three of them longer than three minutes, and that helps make the songs punchy, and catchy. There's no time for long solos or anything else that slows the pace down - the songs are all fast paced and above all catchy singalong type of songs. There's a definite 60's pop feel to the album, and mixed in with that is a more modern flavour too, with the end result being extremely listenable catchy Powerpop. Definitely well worth a listen.”
“It would be prudent to mention the classic power-pop guitar work in this album; the whole collection of songs is rife with bright melodies and well-articulated chords. Each song retains the classic nuances of The Knack, R.E.M, The Beatles and The Byrds amongst other great power-pop bands, but with subtle modernisations that make the genre more accessible. For example, you won’t find the dominant bass riffs that this genre of music is known for (My Sharona by The Knack is a good example here), nor will you hear constant vocal harmonisation. What you WILL hear, are bright arpeggios in just the right places, and vocal harmonies being used to enhance choruses and other key parts in the songs. It is, in my opinion, a very efficient and attractive design. Other identifiable aspects of The Popdogs music include a real sense of rhythm. I challenge you to listen to their track “Kelly’s On” without bobbing your head along with it.”
“Yes, there is a dog on the front cover, you're not seeing things. :) Put the CD in the drive and, Kelly's On, comes to your ears. From the start, the album has a very summer vibe to it. The first few songs including Honest Guy, are reminiscent of the English band, Dodgy. The kind of sound you can have the top down on your convertible to. This is the general vibe of the album, soft guitar riffs and nice and light vocals. Mild Manners, as them guitar riffs, reminds me of From Dusk Till Dawn. Only a few song with a more dirtier side the music. You got this with, Kissin' Alicia as well. From Mexico back to English sand between your toes with, Dancin' Again, which really cements the album for the summer vibe sound. Depends what mood you are in, but this a nice Pop album. Although the guys are from Lincoln, the album has a very American pop vibe going on. I can hear Weezer and The La's, especially through the singing on many songs.”
“The approach to the final sizzle is careful but the band make just enough of an impact to make this a fair toon. 'Queen Of The USA' is a tragic tale rammed to the rafters with exact emotion and equally precise noteage that makes this a real pleasing offering emphasising some real choice qualities the band bring to the table of tone. If one was looking for a double A side from this set of ten then this and the opening track are sure fire musts - both work in unison and flow in such a style as to make you aware that these players are really into their set modus operandi. Appreciated! The closure is a named as 'Dancin' Again' and 'Whoa hoa's' upward on sparkling keys and assured strums before the tone gets tenderised, the fragility within becomes apparent. The band handle their goods with care and we move further on into a softly pulsating segment that blossoms into a fresh and buoyant inflorescence of pleasurable cacophonic colours.Very encouraging, quite innocent, deliciously flawless.”
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