Album Review: American Dog – “Poison Smile”
It’s kind of weird to think that American Dog have now been slogging it around the bars of the Midwest and mainland Europe for well over a decade. Let’s be honest, there’s several other raucous redneck rockers who’ve come and gone in that time marking these Dogs out as true survivors. And with “Poison Smile”, they’ve delivered another shot of good old fashioned high octane rock ‘n’ roll with all the ease of a hardened drinker knocking back the moonshine.
The thing is, even though they’re a good six albums into their career, American Dog still sound like they’ve got more guts and fury than any number of dead-eyed contrived Led Zep clones clogging up the pages of “Classic Rock” at the moment. And while there’s plenty of Crue-worshipping johnny come latelys in both Camden and LA who claim to be all about the sex, booze and rock ‘n’ roll, you suspect that if you put any of ’em on a night out with American Dog they’d be running out of the bar for their lives well before closing time. Essentially, American Dog aren’t offering you anything you’ve not heard before – their music is basically one part Motorhead, one part Twisted Sister and one part Ted Nugent (with a bit of a sprinkling of ZZ Top and Skynyrd chucked in here and there) but they do it with such enthusiasm and gusto that you can’t help but enjoy it. Make no mistake, they definitely mean it man.
Songs like the frenetic opener “Devil Dog”, the bruised ode to touring “The Real Nitty Gritty” and the excellently titled “Just Like Charlie Sheen” will have your head nodding along and a smile breaking across your mush while the humour on the likes of “Splinterin’ Sally” (about the joys of dating a girl with a wooden leg) and “Bathroom Romance” (which sounds like Faster Pussycat strapped to a nuclear missile) is a nice relief from the sort of widdling bores who desperately wish it was 1975 all over again (blithely ignoring the fact that most music in that year was rubbish).
So yes, don’t expect the answers to the universe in here – this is very much the aural equivalent of tucking into a big steak dinner at the grill house or settling in for an evening watching the wrestling on TV. In other words, it ain’t big, it ain’t clever but it sure as hell is enjoyable. And really, that’s the most important thing. Recommended.