We get a fair few highly produced releases sent in our direction, often with big PR machines behind them. The new album ‘Slippery Satellites’ from Dog, Paper, Submarine definitely isn’t one of those. I guess we can all over complicate everything sometimes, but when it comes to alternative Indie Rock you just need big guitars, some chords and possibly a few beers, and then you just need to play loudly. Dog, Paper, Submarine are experts in all those things.
I am so late to the Dog, Paper, Submarine’ party that I almost missed it altogether. This is their final album, apparently, which appears to their 5th since they released their debut, a self titled release way back in 2013. They’re a 3 piece band, consisting of none other than the much featured Martin Månsson Sjöstrand (This Heel and The Martin Månsson Sjöstrand Trio), Emil Engblom (Talking to Teapots) and drummer Carolina Carlbom, who played in a band called The Pusjkins that I hadn’t heard of previously, but enjoyed listening to today.
I’ll try not to write too much about Slippery Satellites, because there’s a straightforward approach to it that demands you just need to go away and listen and enjoy. Musically they take influences from across the rock spectrum, and if you like bands like The Pixies and Sonic Youth, you’ll probably be attracted to DPS too.
I’ve used the words ‘simple and straightforward’, but of course it isn’t – if it was simple, everyone would be doing it. However straight from the opening of ‘Big Inch of My Heart’ you will get the idea, a noisy guitar riff, a short snappy chorus and lots of thumping instrumental sections. ‘Simple and Dark’ is in the same spirit, but it’s worth noting that both tracks appeal because there’s maybe a hint of ‘power pop’ in the tune at the heart of each song.
I like the opening and lyrics in ‘Time Machine’, but even if the chorus doesn’t quite resonate with me, I love the instrumental section and screamed vocal conclusion from 2 minutes onward. But my favourite track is undoubtedly ‘Retina’, a thumping guitar opening which then softens and melodically heads off in a slightly offbeat direction, before the cavalry of chaotic guitars take over, and an outrageous ritardando – it’s thoroughly entertaining stuff.
As for the rest, well go and explore for yourself. ‘Loveghost’ is particularly catchy and although Dog Paper Submarine don’t really do ‘sensitive and subtle’, ‘Ravi’s Dead’ opens up to a beautiful melody and hints too of more progressive influences. ‘’Is anyone in there Robot Kid’’ shouts Martin Månsson, in ‘Robot Kid’ with apparent frustration at teen obsession with computer games, whilst I love the wayward nature of ‘Fire Brigade’, which has a completely irresistible combination of guitars, vocals and drums - the lyrics and guitar solo are also worthy of mention. ‘Trap Zero’ also has clever lyrics (‘’I’m all wrapped up in doubt and when I break out things never go my way’’), and again it’s that bit offbeat – in general the more warped the tracks get, the more I like them. And it all ends with the riotous title song ‘Slippery Satellites’, where Carolina Carlbom’s backing vocals shine and we’re offered huge instrumental guitar riffs.
‘Slippery Satellites’ is simply fabulous, with a natural energy and infectious enthusiasm that suggests they’ve loved their time as Dog, Paper, Submarine’. Noisy rampant guitars, catchy melodies, and a sense of chaos and simplicity all rolled into one album. Noise rock doesn’t really get any better than this.
Nordic Music Review 9/10