For those of you who bemoan the fact that they just don’t make music like they used to, The Sheepdogs are living proof that, indeed they do. One quick listen to this, the Canadian quartet’s major label debut, will have you thinking you have time-travelled straight back to 1972.
Although this is their first album for Atlantic Records, it’s their fourth overall. The Sheepdogs had been slogging their retro guitar riffs in their hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan for several years before entering, and eventually winning, Rolling Stone magazine’s “Choose The Cover” contest last year, in which readers voted on an unsigned band to feature on the magazine’s cover and pick up a deal with a major label. This self-titled album is the result of that deal, and the band’s first to be released outside of Canada.
The Black Keys’ drummer, Patrick Carney, has produced the 14 tracks on offer here, and as a result, they feature a suitably retro-1970s vibe.
The band has a mellow, laid-back sound with a hint of Southern rock in them so when the first several tracks are played….with benign titles like Feeling Good, Alright OK and Laid Back…images of classic albums by The Marshall Tucker Band, The Doobie Brothers, The James Gang and The Band come rushing in.
Guitarist Leot Hanson gets to show off a bit on Never Gonna Get My Love, a track in which the backing vocals sound a bit like Queen. Later on, on While We’re Young, they “borrow” The Sweet’s riff from Fox On The Run and on the instrumental Javenla!, The Allman Brothers Band’s In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed comes immediately to mind.
One could go one playing spot the influences at length…Santana, Quicksilver, CCR, Gary Glitter; the list goes on and on.
Over the course of these 14 tracks, The Sheepdogs prove themselves to be an easy-to-love, though extremely derivative 70s boogie band with a few decent riffs of their own. Now, beam me back to the present please, Scottie.
Click here to listen to Alright OK from The Sheepdogs: