Put It On A Cracker
As usual, I’m finding that the best music is the hardest to describe. Dirty Poodle compounds the problem by being their usual mercurial selves — if I could sum up the Dirty Poodle experience, it would be that they have NEVER given me what I expected to hear. Some bands zig when you expect them to zag, but you come to anticipate that twist. Not so with Dirty Poodle, who instead zeg, zog and zug, and then something else I can’t even imagine.
Keeping with that non-tradition is Dirty Poodle’s eponymous debut, which forfeits all previous incarnarnations of the Poodle — Breeders ska-punk, XTC pop hardcore, hyperventilating surf, what have you — for an intimate and swaying set of minimalist songs. “Squeals Of Enjoyment” has a softly and slowly beating bass drum and snare, with gently chiming guitar and a graciously pirouetting chorus, all aimed to replicate not the splashing sounds of the public pool next door but the glittering stillness of the soft summer air. “Illegal Kindergarten” could be a lucky studio find, as the entire track is presented backwards and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Dirty Poodle on this outing consists of original core members Scott Beckey (whose roots touch just about every band out of Melbourne worth hearing) and Dan Bissing; the two play most instruments on here. I can’t possibly find another band to compare Dirty Poodle to, but I can tell you that not a single note on this album is unnecessary, and the band’s sparseness and deliberation is difficult to find in this day and age of cheap recording equipment and unlimited digital overdubs. Dirty Poodle knows not to play three notes when one is enough, and not to waste time finding exotic percussion when a gentle tap on the snare will suffice. I’ve been waiting for this album, or any Dirty Poodle album, to be released for nearly four years now. If it takes that long for the band to find the inspiration for a gem like this, I’m willing to wait four more for the next one. I’m sure it won’t be what I expect. Not at all.
Put It On A Cracker Records, P.O. Box 2944, Gainesville, FL 32602