Sound — 9
Christmas has come early; Dr. Dog has released an EP to tide us over until their next LP release. And a happy early Christmas you will receive listening to this disc. The beat picks you up right from the start with the first thumping track "Be The Void", my favorite of this album. You can't help but smile and pump your fist New Jersey-style when you listen to it. While still holding onto their throwback lo-pro sound, this album does sound more produced than previous ones, but certainly not to a detriment. The second track, "The Sun", seems to be a live recording, or maybe it is just recorded to sound that way, but it keeps the positive momentum of the album going. Then, the short piano driven tune "What A Fool" takes it down for a slow-dance pace, washing us with the raw passion that Scott McMicken continually delivers in his songs. The next track "Exit For Sale" for me is where their 60s/70s influence is most apparent; I feel like this downcast crooner-ballad could be on one of The Beatles more psychedelic albums. Finally, "Wild Race" is a great fun hooky track, leading us to the end with a great repeating outro, echoing the song/album name over and over, reminding us Dr. Dog is still holding their amazing pace of releasing satisfying indie-retro albums, for now, and hopefully for years to come!
Lyrics — 8
As usual, McMicken astounds with his lyrics in the "Wild Race" EP. Some of the most moving examples from this album come from "Be The Void", where he shares with us his insightful trick of "making everything worse so it can only get better", going on... "become complete, become destroyed/become nothing, be the void". I love the sentiment of us needing to break ourselves down completely before we can become anything at all. In the song "What A Fool", the singer wallows in his own self-pity over a lost love, admitting, "I've grown so used to it in time/That a broken heart is fine". However, as pathetic as it sounds, he expresses very universal sentiments we all have come across, making familiar realizations like, "I was never good to you" and "There were so many things I couldn't say". Dr. Dog's lyrics continue to impress and stir feeling for me. Meanwhile, McMicken's rough-hewn voice is a pleasant down-to-earth respite, for me, from the cadre of auto-tune and pitch-perfect singers so readily found these days.
Overall Impression — 9
I would say this may be my favorite Dr. Dog album to date. It is just a pleasant to-the-point little pill of an album; the real mean-and-potatoes you need from a band to make you happy. Just stick this CD in, press play, and watch 19 minutes of your day melt away into the sounds of Dr. Dog; hell, listening to this may even conjure up some Beach Boy ghosts hidden deep in your music psyche. One of the few things I hate about this album is that it is not longer, that I must wait until McMicken can throw together his full LP with his partners and collaborates of musical wizardry. In closing, this small record is top-notch. If you like Dr. Dog, you'll love this, or if you have never given them a chance before, this is a great mini-tester of an album to decide if they are for you. I promise you won't regret it!