Album Review: Dogstar Don’t Need to Streak on Star Power in Their New Album, “Somewhere Between the Power Lines and Palm Trees”
Dogstar exists between Keanu Reeves’ career. Let’s be honest, this project was packed away comfortably in the linen drawer of John Wick’s impeccable white bulletproof shirts. Dogstar’s debut album seems decades away, because it has been that long. They return with a solid post-grunge album to make up for the time, called Somewhere Between the Power Lines and Palm Trees.
If you check a camera during a Dogstar gig, you can be 100% sure that it points to the action star 85% of the time. Reeves taking on the bass duties has been probably the biggest boon for the post-grunge, alt-rock mixture the band carries. Bret Domrose had some side projects that have kept his skills sharp, but otherwise, you’re looking at a decent album with a few tight songs. No matter the star, that doesn’t change. The opening is Blonde, a soothing pop rock styled track. His vocals and lyrics are the ones that keep your attention, with falsetto and some nice transitions.
To keep the Matrix star in the spotlight, songs like How the Story Ends begins with a bass line. Scarce melodically otherwise, you’ll feel simple string chords bridging into the chorus. The band goes bullet time in some songs, and alt-rock drag in the others. As a renaissance, this is a great effort, nostalgia gun firing through the dense cloud that they left when they broke up.
Choruses like Everything Turns Around is a golden coin of positivity, something that Mr. Reeves is the internet’s boyfriend for. They leave you with a warm, fuzzy blanket of joy to revel in. Yet, there are those post-grunge tendencies in songs like Overhang. The booming echo of a garage recording still remains, something reminiscent from their album Happy Ending, way back in 2004. We have to remember these guys have around 40 years of friendship and 20 years of chemistry to return to.
Effortlessly cruising at 50-Dogstar in review
The middle of the album is like a soft rock rewind that shows their growth over the years. It is that éclair soft centre that you are promised, and Dogstar do a delightful job in leaving you content with their melodies.
As much as your attention might turn to the juggernaut, you have to admire the tenacity of the band getting together for the love of music. I mean, this man just finished John Wick 4, he could have been on an indefinite hiatus from life. Yet, it is the radio swinging songs like Lily that remind you why that surreal haze surrounds the band. Presumably, songs like Lust carry a quicker tempo that echo the mid-90 auras that embraced the post-grunge bands. Dogstar still have a distinct edge in how they blend the chorus and verse parts together.
Psychedelic territories are explored in Glimmer. A soft, mellow single keeps the bass thick, the guitar tones heavenly and harp-like. Bret Domrose on vocals and Robert Mailhouse on drums still push the rhythm with their harmonics and dedication to tone.
This ride back to the 90s had to be Petty inspired. That is what Sunrise would remind you of, bringing that recurring positivity and joy with every groove in this vinyl. Dogstar are the snippet of the 90s you miss because they just don’t make music like this any more. Especially not in the mainstream, there are great indie musicians who chalk out music on par and better every day.
In the reveries of the 90s
With Sleep and Upside, they want to keep the mileage on their particular style of “strock”. This is a healthy amalgamation of star and rock, just enough to catapult them into some kind of traction. Sorry for trying to make up that word, trying. It isn’t like Depp’s collab with Jeff Beck and legends of the sort. Here Reeves is the focus, and very obviously brings the band along on the wide, leather and velvet coattails. This band is a product of a very nice coalesce, and has this renaissance at a time when the mainstream enjoys old guys rocking out. From Rolling Stones to AC/DC, Metallica to Megadeth and Clapton-all are coming out guns blazing. By the time you reach their last song, Breach, you might wonder if that’s the tone for the next album. It sounds like nothing else on the album, and is your “dead dog here is your movie” moment. It is catchy, simple, and reeks of old Dogstar.
There is an addiction to this genre, and getting back to the stage Reeves and Co. might have missed. Either way, it doesn’t matter. What they have released is a testament to several years of sticking together to make this memorable album. Their Spotify doesn’t even have mentions of their earlier work, so I guess they’re in their Eras phase. You’ll continue to hear from them, whenever the global superstar finds time from Arch Motorbikes and some of the best action films the world has seen. Listen to their supercharged melody machine here and gear for something Neo to come. I had to.