Dog Fashion Disco- Sweet Nothings

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Monday, August 4, 2014

Over the course of twelve years, Dog Fashion Disco made an impression on audiences with their constantly changing metal/rock that had a distinctive avant-garde flair. The group decided to call it quits, with members going on to form bands like Polkadot Cadaver, Knives Out!, and Ideamen. Although they were based out of my local area, Dog Fashion Disco was another band that I didn’t fully discover until they had already disbanded. But they wouldn’t stay apart for long, as the past few years saw the group do a few reunion shows themed around particular albums in their discography before deciding to write music together again. Sweet Nothings comes almost eight years after their last full length, but it’s like the band never left as there are plenty of familiar elements on display throughout each of the thirteen tracks. This is definitely not a bad thing though, as Sweet Nothings is an album full of catchy hooks and unpredictable moments, and it’s another top notch addition to Dog Fashion Disco’s extensive discography.

If you haven’t experienced anything this band put out before, prepare to experience about ten different style changes over the course of only a couple songs. While Dog Fashion Disco has always seemed to take a bit of influence from Mr. Bungle’s over the top sound and unpredictability, over the years they went off in their own direction and Sweet Nothings showcases a little bit of everything they’ve had to offer without feeling like a rehash. The instrumentalists start things off subtly with “Greta” which moves forward slowly and at a very soft pace before letting the saxophone break free and create a somber mood. From there “War Party” kicks in with what is easily the heaviest song on the entire album, as the band transitions between heavier rock riffs and fast chugging that sounds like it could’ve come straight from an old-school thrash band. Even when Dog Fashion Disco goes more towards a straightforward rock or metal sound they don’t stay there for too long, as these quickly give way to more theatrical and off the wall moments. Where Sweet Nothings really hooked me was the one two punch of “Tastes So Sweet” and “Doctor’s Orders.” The former lets a seductive piano melody drive things forward before building up to a strong melodic chorus, while the latter goes for a straight up funk groove. Every single song offers something different, but unlike so many other bands that go for an experimental or avant-garde angle Dog Fashion Disco is able to create a consistent hook. Even with so many different things happening, the songs all flow together perfectly and have some type of riff that will make you want to hit the repeat button.

Todd Smith was one of the main reasons I liked the group’s earlier releases and the bands that formed after their initial breakup, as he’s able to touch upon so many different pitches and vocal styles. Smith’s able to sound somber and downright creepy, angry and psychotic in a way that suits the heavier metal section, and even much mellower in a way that could appeal to more mainstream oriented rock fans. Often all of these different styles will make an appearance over the course of a single track, making the vocal performance just as dynamic as the instrumentals. It also helps that the lyrical content continues to have a combination of cynical and tongue in cheek approach, and while I don’t usually delve into lyrical analysis in my reviews because of how subjective they can be I think they definitely deserve a mention as they have just as many surprises as the other elements on Sweet Nothings. Smith’s style is one that I’ve found recognizable over the years, and his shift between mellow and intense continues to be truly impressive.

Reunions can be hit or miss, but Dog Fashion Disco has returned with an album that channels all of the stylistic elements that drew fans in years ago while providing new hooks that will make listeners want to hit the repeat button for another go instead of just returning to the rest of the band’s discography. Sweet Nothings is an album that’s hard to really put into one category, but anyone whose tastes skew towards rock and metal with an experimental flair should find it to be an infectious listen with plenty to offer. This one has already been on regular rotation in my car since it came through my inbox last month, and it’s great to see that even though these guys have been off working with plenty of other bands that they’re able to come back and make it seem like they never went anywhere in the first place.

1 Comment »


  • Caleb says:

    I just want to add a few things. I’m a regular listener of DFD, PDaver, etc. etc. and I have found this album to be complete and utter GARBAGE!!! Jkjk, I’m drink right now so when I say it’s garbage, basically I’m just spewing BS. Actually, this album is freaking AWESOME!!! The only song I consider my “skip song” is Scarlet Fever, and c’mon, it’s actually pretty good.

    With DFD and whatnot I’ve noticed something, everyone has their own personal favorite song. There’s never a specific song (except chloroform girl) that everyone just falls in love with all at once.

    For instance, when I first was listening to the album, Greta was pissing me off because I just wanted to hear it all (bit selfish but it’s honestly how I felt)… though, I instantly fell in love with a specific lyric in the very song, and now I’m in love with the freaking sax part of it, so needless to say, I’m in love with the entire song.

    Next is War Party… if you knew me, you’d know I’m not a fan of war-related items, songs, games, even war itself. I just find it to be rather boring. BUT! Sometimes, some people can put a brilliant twist on it. My favorite game series actually happens to be Metal Gear Solid… so, first hearing War Party, I initially liked the words and phrasings, and it just kinda grew on me. I suppose I realized how awesome it was lol.

    Scarlet Fever is indeed awesome, but I don’t wanna talk about it (I feel the exact same towards Scarlet Fever as I do towards 100 Suicides in Adultery, definitely a listenable song but not the song I’m looking for).

    Tastes so Sweet is where (I believe) the album starts to shape into itself, where you start to get somewhat of an understanding of what’s going on. You’re going to hear metal, you’re going to hear amazing lyrics, you’re going to hear stuff you thought you’d never listen to (though that’s pretty much all of DFD (not in a bad way xD)).

    Doctor’s Orders is simply awesome. If you’re in a dark kinda mood but don’t want to listen to dark music, this song is for you. Nuff sed.

    Envy the Vultures is for you if you’re in a dark mood. Fun fun, happy happy.
    Actually I love this song more and more.

    Approach and Recede is very close to Scarlet Fever for me, but it (to me) has much more than SF. At the same time, it’s one of my favorite songs from the album. That’s what I love about Sweet Nothings, it’s a f*cking adventure, they made godd*mn sure of it.

    Down the Rabbit Hole I almost feel is completely necessary. A wonderland song? Hell yeah! Where’s the pitchfork? Lol I’ve no clue why I said that but I’m sure it’s funny. Anyways, this song is crazy… in fact this is probably my favoritest craziest song ever. Like, it starts the– just listen to it, it’s out there but it’s great. “And now angels begin to grow horns…” yeah, you’ve just gotta hear it.

    So… we are now at this song. We aren’t the World. As good of a song this is, this song actually made me feel like the album wasn’t going to be as good as it should’ve been (twas the first song DFD showed to the world)… boy was I wrong and glad to be so. To me this song is better than Scarlet Fever, but it sounds too much like PDaver (lyric-wise) and I just need something different. Still, it’s good, it still goes up and down etc. etc. (don’t let my thoughts about SF and WATW make you think you won’t like them either, some other “skip songs” I’ve had before were some people’s favoritest songs).

    As soon as I saw the word “lightning” was in one of the song names, I knew it was impossible for me to not like it. Therefor, since the double negative is in place, I LOVE STRUCK BY LIGHTNING!!! This is probably my favorite song. It’s a little random, but it’s REALLY good imo.

    Then, the title track. Probably the best. Idk, ur opinion ig.

    I personally think Pale Horse is the heaviest song on the album. It has a lot put into it but I can say for sure if I needed to do something amazing, like run a marathon, I’d pick this song xD. Srsly.

    End of the Road. If you don’t know the– I’ll just let you find out, your life will improve drastically.

    …………………………………………………………..Overall. Every song has a little something for you. Srsly, for you. If I could point at you, I would, but I can’t. Don’t like metal? Aight, this album might not be exactly for you but I’m sure there’s a few songs you’d like. Don’t like soft baby shit? HA, DFD’s got you covered.

    Enjoy! *Sips on martini*.

Leave a Reply