Album release: Cool Cats For Pop Dogs by the Popdogs
Release date: May 13
Label: Big Mac Records 
Listen: on Reverbnation

The Popdogs have the ebullient and irrepressible sound of a band that have finally found what they’ve been looking for. There’s no doubt that past endeavours of singer and songwriter James Styring boasted a dedication to melody (and pop music in its various guises) but a new songwriting partnership with guitarist Tim McKeating has added both bite and bark to this new material. Now their six-strings chime nods to the likes of early REM and Stiff Little Fingers’ brand of bouncing power chords adds teeth to the sound.

Styring’s previous band, Postcards From Places That Don’t Exist, and their near-residency at the International Pop Overthrow Festival is a strong indicator of their Power-Pop leanings. The Popdogs share a penchant for big choruses and unrequited yearning with bands like Material Issue and Big Star. This has done them a world of good; hooks positively pop from the speakers, like those in Kelly’s On and Last To New York. These are delivered in a bruised and lofty vocal style, sounding something like a supercharged Buddy Holly. It’s quaint and charming but instantly addictive.  

While not the only example, Honest Guy presents a perfect snapshot of The Popdogs’ sound. Wasting no time with frivolous things like introductions, the chorus boasts a double-whammy of an instantly-classic sounding rolling hook and the kind of simple but effective wordplay that’ll be stuck in your head for days.  

This collection takes the approach of throwing 9 singles directly at you, with twilight instrumental Mild Mannered J being the only concession to anything other than rabidly addictive pop. Clocking in at just over half an hour, via the sugar rush opening of Kelly’s On and Honest Guy, to the summery, nostalgic swansong Dancin’ Again, it’s a sprinting burst of a record. Cohesive, confident and classic, for the thirty minute running time you are completely and willingly a part of The Popdogs’ world.

The Popdogs play The Cavern Club, Liverpool on Friday 17th May as part of The International Pop Overthrow Festival. Every dog has its day. The Popdogs’ day is coming.

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