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August 2004 Pick of the Month

Title: Mutt
Artist: The Lost Dogs
URL: http://www.thelostdogs.com
Label: Lo-Fidelity Records
URL: <http://www.lo-fidelity.com>
Times: 10 Tracks/34:43 minutes

With no frills, no special effects and a small recording budget, the Lost Dogs have made an album that is genuinely good, not because of some big marketing push, not because of some high paid publicist, not because of big name musical guests--but because of top notch song writing. The music on this project can be best described as a mixture of acoustic rock, country, and blues. This record is a collection of songs from the other bands with which the Lost Dogs have been involved: The Choir, The 77s, and Daniel Amos plus one brand new song "I'm Setting You (But Not Letting You Go)." The Dogs have brought along Steve Hindalong to handle the percussion to help them remake these musical gems. Matt Slocum of Sixpence None the Richer fame joins the gang to play cello.

These songs cover topics from martial love, friendships, joy of family, God's grace, and His ultimate sacrifice on the cross. The album begins with the beautiful "If You Want To," a very wistful rendition of this Daniel Amos classic. The lead vocals are shared by all three of the Dogs--Mike Roe, Terry Taylor and Derri Daughtery. The different pitches of their voices blend wonderfully, making an intoxicating delight to the ears. The central lyric of the song where God speaks to man and says, "We can change the world, if you want to." The impassioned vocals of Terry Taylor during that line is the essence of worship, very heartfelt.

Next is "The Lust, The Flesh, The Eyes and The Pride of Life," a song about all the things that drag us away from God and sucks the life out of us, and it touches on the consequence of this, namely an incorrect view of God being the servant and us the master--"I see something I want and I want it now, I don't care how much it cost me now or later." The understated percussion of Steve Hindalong adds an exquisite touch to the harmonizing lead vocals; all you can do is sit back, close your eyes and let the music soak into you as you thank God for such honest music. "Like A Cloud" is a sexy song meant for a man and his wife. The lyrics which Steve penned are prose at its best; they convey the spiritual yearning between man and woman and do not come off as dirty or raunchy. It is very poetic, and the stripped-down version of this song make it even more lovely than the original version. "I want to float you like a cloud, I drink you like a flower drinks rain" is an example of the fine songwriting mentioned earlier.

"It's So Sad" is the lone rocker on the album. Mike Roe treats us to his world famous "boogie woogie" music. The message of the song is that life without God is pointless, some will die not believing this truth, and it's so sad. This song has a nice rockabilly, bluesy feel to it; it sounds best played loud in a car with the windows down. It's easy to tell that the "old dawgs" enjoyed jamming to this song, and it sounds so tight and full of so much energy that listeners will be hard pressed to not get out of their seats and dance around like a chicken that's being electrocuted. "Ain't Gonna Fight It," originally released in 1976, is turned into a serene musical excursion through God's love and His eternal promises to us. Some songs are timeless, and this is certainly one of them. Listening to this composition, one can be sure this tune came to us directly from the throne room of God.

Without a doubt the highlight of this album is "Beautiful Scandalous Night," arguably one of the best prayers ever written. Mike Roe takes over on lead vocals and delivers a mesmerizing performance. "You carried the sin of the world on Your back, and the sky turned black" strips away the romanticism of Christ's death and reduces it to the nitty gritty truth that it was an horrific event that forever redeemed us, so we no longer have to be mutts, we can be now be called children of the Most High. This is the message of this album from start to finish. Do yourself a favor and go buy this album, put it in your CD player and prepare to be blown away by the perfect marriage of art and faith.

Aaron Anderson    7/21/2004

In addition to writing for Phantom Tollbooth, Aaron also independently writes poems, devotionals and more about the human condition. To read more of his writings or order some of his books go to: www.aaroncanderson.us
 
 
 
 

 

   
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