I had to Google this band name—it turns out the title refers to pets that freak out when their boss isn’t around. Thus, they stick to their owners like Velcro. I assume this prevents the pooches from running into traffic or sinkholes, so on that level, it’s good. The goofy band name sets the stage for a bluesy, folksy-oriented sound on Misanthropology with lyrics like “Feed me to the pigs when I’m done.” Right, I’ll get right on that. A track named “Cone of Shame” carries this idea forward: here, a male vocal with a minimal acoustic guitar and an occasional fiddle builds the base for a song resembling “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow” from that cult movie Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?
Vocalist Tony Gonzales sings in a ragged, bluesy tone, and I would have guessed this band originated in rural West Virginia. But this is a Nordic group, with a home base in Trondheim, Norway. They’ve got the sound down, and the tracks flow and twist around the mountainous origins of folk music. While songs take their sweet time, each carries a small piece of story, elaborating on it and then closing one eye and opening the next. Titles are inexplicable—“Shave a Pig and Call it Ham” is an example, and by the time the title track appears, you may reside in a plaintive mood. But these lyrics can pack a punch. “You’re pissing in the the wishing well” is one of the best lines I’ve ever heard in a folk song.
I’ll close out with a few notes on “A Nice Place for an Ambush.” Our not quite suicidal vocalist finds himself alone in a big empty house, kept alive by cigarettes, and that’s enough to make a song . Here’s the deal: while frivolous sounding, this is serious blues, dripping sadness and desperation. If you have thoughts of self harm, DO NOT go down this road. I need every reader I have. But if you want to dip your toes in the pool of eternal sadness, just to taste it, this is a wonderful look at our dark sides. And isn’t that what Norway is for? Dark souls and dark winters, living in a dark musical world.