The Strines - Dog-ger-el (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Strines

Dog-ger-el (2004)


If you're using Microsoft Windows as your computer's operating system, please direct your cursor to the bottom right hand corner of your screen. On the task bar, double click the time region. Under the "Day & Time" tab press the down arrow on the year area until it reads "1996." Press "Apply" followed by "Ok." [Ed.'s Note: As computer savvy as our fellow Scott here is, he doesn't seem to realize that simply clicking "OK" will apply it automatically and then exit the window.]

Clinton has been re-elected President of the United States, the Olympics are in Atlanta, the Packers win the Super Bowl, and No Doubt's third studio album Tragic Kingdom launches them into unprecedented pop fame. The Orange County group found success in ditching upbeat So-Cal ska/punk for radio-friendly pop songs and everyone took the bait. Vocalist Gwen Stefani was in every guy's dreams and the posters decorating every girl's room.

From there the group has had their ups and downs, but has always remained in the entertainment spotlight, following commercial success and delving in the urban sounds, recently releasing a greatest hits album, followed by Stefani taking on the task of a solo career.

The Strines remember when Mariah Carey, the Smashing Pumpkins, and Alanis Morissette dominated the airwaves and carry on the No Doubt sound from Tragic Kingdom. Led by an attractive blonde sporting a rebellion look and backed by a supporting cast of mostly males, the group delivers upbeat pop-rock songs that would fit perfectly on the soundtracks of teen movies like Clueless or 10 Things I Hate About You.

The album's opener "Beard" is a bouncy cut that the radio stations would have drooled over, sans the ridiculous lyrical content in the chorus; "I'll be your beard / A cover of stubble / Sharp as a whisker / I'll play the game subtle / I'll be your beard / Put on a great show / Prom King ‘n' Queen to the world / And no-one will know." "I Want Something Else" isn't much better as the band shines with another power pop melody, but the Australian Georgia Haege croons with a lack of substance: "I don't need to be a double D / A size 3, fucking Barbie."

Slowly catching up with the times, "Let It Flow" is more of a traditional Top 40 Pop Radio hit. You know, the one that pushes the vocalist away from the rest of the band because of her dashing looks and excellent vocal talent.

After the horn-guided and very Save Ferris "Aliens," in which Haeges sounds identical to Monique Powell, the Strines' debut full-length takes an even deeper dive into the gutter. Each of the six remaining genre-jumping tracks are pleading "$1.00-Washed-Up-Pop-Band-Bargain-Bin-Deal!"

Dog-ger-el is in the wrong time period. I doubt it would have succeeded in the glory days of No Doubt anyway, though, and due to its unsteady material it stands much less of a chance doing well now too.

*Don't forget to turn your clocks back to today's date and go back to wearing girls jeans and karate kicks or whatever you kids are up to nowadays.