Yowler - Black Dog In My Path - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Yowler - Black Dog In My Path

by Tim Sentz Rating:8 Release Date:2018-10-12
Yowler - Black Dog In My Path
Yowler - Black Dog In My Path

Maryn Jones is a busy lady. She’s the product of a long string of indie rock revivalists – Waxahatchee for example – who tend to deviate from the typical structures that limit the genre. Whereas the watered-down rock that seems to clutter the pool, Jones has managed to craft intuitive rock that’s relatable while also being devastating. Back in 2014, her band All Dogs turned out one of the better indie rock records of that year, but she’s shifted focus to Yowler in the last few, and the returns have been stellar.

Black Dog In My Path is her latest effort, and it capitalizes on the themes and framework of her previous effort The Offer spectacularly. Jones is in her own world that she’s created, and Black Dog is her clearest statement to date – across all her outlets – that displays her strong lyrical capabilities, as well as her undeniable strength of assembling a hook-filled monster track. Black Dog opens with a subtle acoustic guitar paired with her sweetly rendered vocals on “Angel” giving a sturdiness to the title. It’s an introduction to an album full of harmonies and faint measures.

“Holy Fire” is one of the strongest cuts on Black Dog In My Path, and it tricks the listener with a similar introduction found on “Angel.” It’s merely Jones and her acoustic guitar, but her harmonies are hypnotic for the first three quarters of the track before gut-punching us with a thunderous riff. “Sorrow” capitalizes on this same structure, but it’s terse and never boring to have this similar approach because Jones is keeping us dialed into her emotions with beautiful “ahhhhhs” that ooze with saccharine. But “Sorrow” doesn’t pull the same punches as “Holy Fire,” it keeps things on the ground.

The most recent single released in support of Black Dog In My Path is “Where Is My Light?” and it features strong grunge-tweaked riffs while Jones croons over harmonic angels in the background. With Black Dog, Jones has positioned herself at the forefront of indie rock revivalism with peers like Snail Mail and to some extent Julien Baker. Baker’s strongest attributes lie with her ability to convey emotion over complexity. Jones does the same thing here, just on a grander scale. “Where Is My Light?” pounds and throbs, but it doesn’t overshadow Jones in the least.

2018 has been a heavy year for women in rock as they’ve fought against the male-dominated genre and won some battles here and there. Innovators like Lucy Dacus and Soccer Mommy have put out strong rock records that lose none of their staying power 7 months later, and Yowler has solidified a spot on those name-dropping lists. Black Dog In My Path isn’t a simple record, it manages to coalesce a myriad of influences and genres, but still sound like a straight-forward indie rock record with rough edges, gothic notes, and folk-imbued accords.

“WTFK” flips the formula on its head, giving a synthy vibe, with single key taps, groovy and funky strings, giving Black Dog In My Path’s second half an adrenaline shot that it didn’t need – but will ultimately benefit from. The horn-backed “(Holiday’s Reprise)” acts as a brief palette cleanser, which seems a bit unnecessary, or possibly just misplaced. “Grizzly Bear II” features one of the record’s best riffs, on a record already full of them. The pacing of Black Dog In My Path is methodical and perfected, all the way down to Jones’ high notes and low notes. It may seem at first glance that Black Dog In My Path is all over the place, and while it is, it’s not in a messy format. The album was constructed during a time of great change and self-reflection for Jones, and these feelings bleed through each crackle and murmur from Jones. Black Dog gushes with passion, even during its down times, and shows off a songwriter in peak performance.

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