New boy Dogtanion’s debut album is a strange beast. The opening tracks reveal an odd, and- lets get real- irritating tendency to emulate the mockney stylings of disagreeable Top Shop twerp Jamie T. First single Islam verges on the unlistenable with its forced glottal stops and ‘cheeky’ bollocks. But then, as the record progresses, the chirpy guitars and on trend electronica give way to something else—the beautiful, burning Never Change with it’s intricate folk guitar and warm fuzzes of bass bytes, Something Beautiful, a shimmering haze of deep melody, yearning love and half heard laptop glitches, and Atheist, all seasick broken throated vocal and obtuse lyrics (“I am a commited atheist// I harbour a grudge against the God who don’t exist”) all of which suggest Dogtanion has it within him to evolve into a Robert Wyatt for our time—and that’s probably the highest praise I can give.
I can’t remember the last time I listened to a record that had tracks I loved and loathed on it in such equal measure, so full marks to Dogtanion for making something so polarising. My advice to listeners is to skip the first half, and treat Japan as a sublime 6 track EP of some class and great promise.