The Zodiac, Oxford
11th February 2004
Every so often a band comes along that picks you up and carries you away on their energetic whimsy about organic veg and loving Lucy Liu, and it’s a very pleasant experience. St Andrews-formed quintet Dogs Die In Hot Cars are such a band. Shunning more modern guitar band conventions, their sound is a refreshing throwback to late 70s and early 80s punchy pop soul. Dexy’s Midnight Runners and XTC comparisons are obvious, but I detected a more Squeeze-y feel, liberally sprinkled with hints of fellow Scottish bands Aztec Camera in their songwriting and, oddly, the Proclaimers in their stomp and vocal harmonies.
Their short and sharp style is cluttered with catchy hooks and odd key changes and at times they wander into cheeky Madness-style ska and jangly tweeness, which could irritate some but must endear them to others – especially V2, who snapped them up last summer. Overall though, they are more enthusiastic urban poets than corny pop urchins.
Lead singer Craig Macintosh, whose earnest and expressive voice reminds me of both Joe Jackson and The Associates’ Billy Mackenzie, looks like he wouldn’t have been out of place in the film Gregory’s Girl – and his band wouldn’t have been out of place on its soundtrack either.
Recent EP lead track Man Bites Man has a great Eurythmics-style lead synth line but their zenith is I Love You Cause I Have To, a Zoe Ball Record of The Week. Paul Newman contains the line “I wish I had Paul Newman’s eyes…” which sounds odd in isolation, but makes sense in the context of everything DDIHC present.
Ones to watch, especially when their debut album – currently being recorded with producers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley (of Dexy’s, Madness and The Smiths fame) – comes out later this year.
From Nightshift, March 2004