Time to heap some praise on Diane Coffee’s latest album ‘Everybody’s a Good Dog’, because it deserves it. It deserves a good many plays, and a legion of listeners…
I’m going to attempt a track-by-track review now so prepare for some callous comparisons and flippant statements. Let enthusiasm be the rating system for this review – and enthusiasm is high. Higher than the harmonies that so remind me of The Zombies on Track 1:
Coffee’s register does sit somewhere on the Beach Boy’s/Zombies scale, which immediately gives it that 60’s haziness that satisfies a nostalgic mind like mine. The early days of pop had that sweetness and innocence, with a lick of melancholy that Spring Breathes captures while adding a few shifts in tone through the song to keep it tickling your ears.
Song two is the ‘get up off your butts’ song. The vocal mixes again are what lifts this beyond the humdrum. Do I hear a kazoo somewhere in the mix? Solid stuff, but there’s better to come.
3. Soon To Be, Won’t Be
The delay on the guitar is standing out nicely hear. More of a psychedelic influence perhaps with heavier effects on the vocals. Definitely one of the highlights.
4. Down With the Current
Another change stylistically. The organ is giving this album a sort of Willy Wonka box of magic treats element… (no?) well, at the very least it’s continuing the 60s influence (Thematically?) (Spiritually?) It escapes me exactly what the organ reminds me of, but I’m tasting Green Onions. And I like the taste of Green Onions. If I was to rename this song I’d call it ‘Red Onions’. In a strange way I’m also picking up tendrils of ‘Let’s Stay Together’ by Al Green (Onions). Ends with a nice key solo bit.
5. Tams Up
Full on bop-pop now. The stuff that reminds you of American colleges and wild campus parties. Or leather jacketed greasers cruising in their Studebaker’s. This song makes me want to comb my hair and dry hump the jukebox. Going to cite The Kingsmen and bands like that for comparison.
Good time to slow it down a beat. More psychedelia on the menu with a strutting bass line, and spidery lead guitar. Good listening, made better with some interesting production/synth effects.
Without a doubt the prize puppy of the dog show, ‘Everyday’ hits a bullseye in the ‘golden-era meets modern day glam/pop/treasure trove of perfection’.
The backing singers hit that ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ Woodstock Era magnificence and while DC may not be Joe Cocker (RIP) he deserves an honorable mention for the lead vocal. You get to hear a bit more of the power behind the sugary melody that perhaps prevails in other songs. There is still a syrupy glaze of a melody on this track in case you were wondering.
Felicia Douglass, artist and musician, provides the female counterpart here. I’m kind of out of my comfort zone with this song, I want to say it’s too much of a departure from what I was enjoying about the rest of the album. But that feels harsh since it is still a quality tune and has a guitar freak-out near the end that reminds me of Hymn from the first album.
9. Too Much Space Man
And the ‘departure’ is reversed with this stomper. The album is back on form. Maybe even a bit amped up from before. Fuzz on the guitar and distortion on the vocals make a welcome appearance and we come the closest to a full blown rock-out song. Solo!
10. I Dig You
Maintains the burn from Too Much Space Man and creates a bit more altitude to boot.
11. Not That Easy
A finale that says goodbye with that hint of sadness that only means one thing, it was good while it lasted, but even good dog’s have to die one day.
Overall flavour of ‘Everybody’s a Good Dog’ is a Smokey chorus of 60’s style pop with a full fat American Coca Cola glaze. I recommend drinking Milkshakes and having a side order of Green Onion rings with that.
If there was ever going to be a Happy Days drive-in movie for today’s audience, which there should be, DC is the one to add the score.