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Now Hear This: The Code - Sundogs


Rating: ***

Sundogs are a Seattle-based rock and jazz fusion outfit that just so happen to have a new release that dropped earlier this summer called "The Code". I could spend hours wondering if perhaps "The Code" means that there is a secret subliminal message somewhere lurking within this album that will make whatever Orwellian nightmare that 2020 is go away, but alas I think it's just a cool name for what I hope is a pretty cool record.

For all this jazz talk (the one-sentence up there), rumor has it that Sundogs are more of a classic rock-sounding band. I love classic rock so that gets my gears a going a little bit.

I'm gonna turn this on during my morning walk. Maybe I'll be hopping along to the sounds. I'll let you guys know after the jump.

Watch video for "Pick it Up" on YouTube below:

The album starts off rocking and rolling hard with "I Want it Now". Riff-heavy and immediately taking you back to some of the classic rock hits of the late 70s. The song is odd in the sense that it only has three lyrics. Still a pretty cool little jam. "Mystery Car" is next and it's more of a soul affair. I don't love this. It ends up coming off sounding dated and corny. "Comin' Back Home" picks things a little with a fun rock tune that would have every local in town dancing the night away in the local bar. "Pick it Up" has a fun piano intro before getting into a nice mid-tempo tune. The jazz component is definitely evident here. "In the Night of the Light" and "Ride" are both solid album track solidifying the middle portion of the album. This is solid, for sure. "Hard Life" sounds like Bad Company in their prime. Solid vocals on this one too. "Jennifer" hits a lot of the right notes and is a good change-of-pace track here about longing. Title track "The Code" is next and it's one of the better songs on the album as we enter the end portion. "Freedom" has my favorite guitar work on the record even if the song itself is only ok. "Angus" and ending track "Balloon" are both strong in their own ways. I wish we might have ended things on a little bit more of bang, though.

There aren't many low points on this one which is a good thing. The bad news is that there aren't a lot of huge standouts either. It's solid throughout with some small peaks and tiny valleys. If you like Tom Petty or Steely Dan, I'd say there might be some stuff here you really dig. I recommend it, even if slightly.
 

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