- by Mark Steele Rating:9 Release Date:2016-09-02 Label: Cherry Red Records
The 5th album What Are We Fighting For from the harmonius troubadors Dodgy, the follow up to 2012's Stand Upright In A Cool Place, sees a journey continuing for band members Nigel Clark - Vocals/Guitar, Andy Miller - Guitar/Vocals, the recent addition Stu Thoy - Bass and Matthew Priest - Drums/Vocals.
A firestarting opening gambit arrives on the 10-track strong recording with 'You Give Drugs A Bad Name', no before you ask, it is not a tongue-in-cheek twist on 1980s rockers Bon Jovi's 'You GIve Love A Bad Name'. It boldly delivers a crunchy 1970s hard rock guitar riff, doubled by bass and spearheaded by galloping funky drums. A blinding solo by Andy tears it up also. It's a pleasure to still hear multi-part harmonies in music these days, though Dodgy make it look easy, many voices as one melodious stream. Here is featured some female vocals which adds to the essence of their earlier works.
A piercing bell tone leading into a 1960s beat guitar driver, 'Now Means Nothing' is pleasant and is brimming with youthful fancy. Great harmonies on the repetition of 'Now', which recalls The Monkees meets The Hollies. Creamy west coast rock shines over the horizon on 'California Gold', the instruments switch between clean country then mesh into a psych rock stew. It also packs some serious 1970s Lynyrd Skynyrd-esque stylings.
The jangly youthful sound of mid 90s british summer britpop comes to mind on 'Are You The One', it seems to deal with unsurety in a relationship. This also rings true for euphoric jangly 'Is This Goodbye'; dealing with a lovesick heart, both songs just seem like a real retrospective snapshot of the band's early years gone by.
An earnest heartfelt ballad 'The Hills', the piano, strings and guitar comes across with all the fullness and sincerity that you would expect a ballad to be. It also features Vanessa Wilson of Ultrasound, adding a fitting harmony that drifts off hopefully into the distance. There is a definite Folk-Rock warmth with 'Never Stops', the hooks employ melancholy and brightness, the flavour of The Byrds is evidently pungent also, making it more endearing.
A country rock/1960s Beat delivery on 'Mended Heart' deals with a retrospective of getting back together with a loved one, while 'Where I shall Begin' looks at moving on into the sunset from cutting ties due to a coupling that failed. The bright anthemic title track 'What Are We Waiting For' promotes a positive investment in "only love", which is the commodity we long to possess.
Dodgy have done well to maintain their unique timeless songwriting essence, and at the same time their dedication in putting this record together reminds us of the bond that should unite us. It is a work that has to be amongst their best and should please fans past and present.