Tuesday, March 24, 2009

CD of the Day, 3/24/09: Straw Dogs-Love and then Hope

Often I've written here about artists that straddle the line between (power) pop and alt-country/Americana, and one of the acts that consistently crosses that line back and forth is Seattle's Straw Dogs. Back with their fifth album and first in four years, tunesmiths David von Beck and Darren Smith have crafted yet another laid-back and melodic marvel that pop fans will enjoy.

Love and then Hope opens with the languid "Lie Awake", displaying the Dogs' signature sound. "Could You" is more upbeat, featuring von Beck & Smith's stellar harmonies with an ending that's reminiscent of The Everly Brothers. The rootsy "Down My Hall" is another winner, as well as the radio-friendly "Serious Love". "Here In My Garden", meanwhile, is as good as anything on The Jayhawks' Hollywood Town Hall, and "Fallow" is a great Eagles-style midtempo rocker. Von Beck and Smith are such musical pros that there's a uniform quality to the proceedings - not a bad track to be found. If you're in the mood for some great "Popicana", you won't do any better than the Straw Dogs.

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Although not from the new album, here's a great track off their previous release, 2005's Tell the Rising Sun, sung from the point of view of Fred Noonan, Amelia Earhart's navigator:

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