Tyla’s Dogs D’amour follow up their last original full length ‘In Vino Veritas’ with a twist in a different direction. The band have created an eight song album that explores several moods and styles. When this album was originally announced, it was designed to be an ode to the blues artists Tyla likes, but that changed as the Dogs began to work on this as a team and made it eight original songs. It does not feel like any Dogs D’amour album from the past but instead recalls the feel of Tyla’s own ‘Nocturnal Nomad’ with an electric bluesy approach. At the end of the day, the complaint becomes that it is not a full length album.
‘A Friend’ was originally reviewed here a few weeks back as the lead single from the album. It has a huge hook that is designed for glasses in the air and everyone singing along to the best of your ability. The lyrics here immediately hit me in the soul given my own recent life events. Similar to the other albums by these Dogs, Tyla is in fine form and seems to be discovering the fountain of youth, perhaps it is that bottle of red…. Things go a little darker for ‘Dangerous Game’ where the bass (Matty) and drums (Simon) lay down a groove to allow some nice electric guitar shading and licks by Gary. Tyla sings this one very reserved and lays down some dark lyrics. The Dogs have always had a steady blues influence, and this album really showcases that side.
Some great subtle guitar and piano help form the groove for ‘Love Will Save’ which lyrically seems to be the counterpoint to ‘Dangerous Game.’ The title helps lay down a hypnotic vocal hook that really carried the first two-thirds of the song before it explodes into a very dynamic feel where the guitar and vocals take the song up into the clouds for a great musical climax. Things slow down for the dark brooding song ‘The Killing.’ Simon’s slow marching beat allowing everyone to have plenty of space in the mix. Tyla’s vocals take on a haunting quality. As the song builds, the spoken words continue to build in intensity. In many ways, this song takes me back to the ‘Mightier than the Sword’ era of Tyla’s output but with a much easier on the ears production. I love the way the piano guides the end of the song.
Opening the back half of the album is the grooving ‘Serpent,’ which is one of my favorites here. This song has risen from the back alleys of another world. The mix allows every instrument to shine. The chorus is very subtle and really comes alive with multiple listens. ‘White Lightning’ serves as another epic at over five and a half minutes. The bluesy rock groove contains a contagious vocal hook as well as a sticky guitar riff. Musically, there are hints that go back to the likes of ‘Chiva.’ The song could have been shaved down for a bit perhaps, but I find myself getting lost in the groove each time I have that thought.
‘You Love It’ begins with what sounds like a classic riff from 40 years or more ago. The hook is again catchy but unlike a traditional Dogs song. The band continue to benefit from having an outside producer as these performances are excellent all the way around. This was another song that hit me as an early favorite, and nothing has changed in that regard. At less than three minutes, I constantly want to hit the repeat button. Finale ‘Killer Inside’ finds Tyla going back in time to deliver a gritty blues song that sounds like it is coming through an old transistor radio. This song has really grown on me since the first several listens. It makes a very satisfying closer which I suspect will continue to grow on me with every listen.
For those that have followed Tyla over the years, there will not be as many surprises, but the band effort here really does set it apart from his past solo releases. It is easy to tell that every member is contributing here to create a band effort; I think that is the reason I like ‘Killer Inside’ being featured at the end. Dogs D’amour continues to show that old… I mean more mature dogs can learn new tricks. Heading into the winter months, put this record on late at night with your drink of choice and lose yourself in this album. You will definitely be happy you did.
Author: Gerald Stansbury