Office Dog is a band fronted by Kane Strang, the Dunedin-based musician who has already made a name for himself with a series of solo albums.
Joining up with Strang to form Office Dog are bassist Rassani Tolovaa and drummer Mitchell Innes. The trio have co-written the music for all 12 songs that make up Spiel, while Strang is responsible for the lyrics. The album was recorded in a blistering two days at Roundhead studios.
Like most of us, Kane’s been going through some ‘stuff’ over the past few years and so describes Spiel as “a ladder out of a pretty rough spot.”
So, let’s look at the 12 songs of Spiel as rungs on that ladder.
The album opens with Shade. The track begins with a slow-strummed fuzzed-out electric guitar followed by the multi-tracked voice of Kane Strang singing ‘face to face’ telling himself (and us) not to be afraid. Despite the relatively short length of the track (2:51) Strang and his bandmates take their time before the full sonic assault kicks in in a distortion-filled haze.
“I was slipping through the city, nothing with me”, Strang intones on Antidote. He sounds lost, alone and searching for answers.
Perhaps the answer can be found in Gleam, a recent single (6 tracks are already released) that feels more upbeat, more urgent:
‘There’s the gleam that I need In the grime of the night. Hurry now, you’re late.”
The mood varies from track to track with the sound vacillating from distortion-drenched rockers (Gleam) to angular art rockers (Big Air) to dreamy jangle-rockers (In The Red).
The first 11 tracks clock in at 2-3 minutes each with the final cut, Spiel, taking over five minutes to make its case, feeling as though the record was leading up to this moment.
“Sorry for the spiel, I just want to feel real”, sings Kane as he and his bandmates thrash the blues away.
As another notable trio once reminded us…All Apologies are forgiven.
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