CHD III Album Review

Outstanding songwriting and the ultimate groove are what awaits you with CHD III, Cathouse Dogs' 3rd and best record. This is a band that always played well and delivered crisp performances but they've taken that all up to another echelon with their current offering, which will surely leave listeners with various Cathouse Dog songs spinning happily in their heads throughout the next week or so.

To get a glimpse of how well this band plays together, you must take in "Diamonds" where the rollin' sound and fury of the band is fully evident. The last half of the song in particular shows the cohesiveness of the rhythm section. Drummer Randy James, along with bassist Paul Whiteside, and guitarists Mark Higginbottom and Stephen Ruppert lay down a flawless backdrop that pulls off the rare feat of controlled looseness, à la the Rolling Stones. The music is a fusion of Southern and Classic rock but since its melded together so perfectly, it's a brand new sound for this era. Singer Todd Sharman rides on top of the wave and takes each song to its righteous destination.

Water is a sultry song that you wouldn't expect to hear from the Dogs but it hits its mark to the nth. Sharman sounds a bit like Anthony Kiedas from the Red Hot Chili Peppers in this one, delivering some potent vocal angst. James caresses his trap set. Lyrically they "stand on the stage without a song to sing" except this is a damned good one, and the ending is great too.

Up All Night is a pounding anthem - dance and sing, forget about everything. Sounds like a good idea to me!

The album ends with Hard, which was a great pick to end the record with. Hard up for cash, hard up for someone. Get out from under the cloud that's been around for awhile - find a way back to yesterday. It's a captivating epic. And it's pretty damned clear that this band has sprung out from under that cloud into the light of day with CHD III, especially when you hear the remarkably catchy "Happy" which is so infectious I defy anyone to hear this and not call it the next great summer single. It's the first song on the record but I had to save the best for last. Again, it's a fine-tuned genre melange but the combination of the island sound and the trademark rockin' swing of the band, along with not one but 2 lasting, monumental vocal hooks will knock you up unto your feet and get you movin', this is outright guaranteed.

The Cathouse Dogs have found their fountain of song, and they deliver the presence and the party to the sanctity of your ears.

Written by: The Scrutinears, January 2012

Song Reviews

Happy

From the first drum riff, the rollicking "Happy" by the Cathouse Dogs uses the mighty power of the back beat to deliver its goodtime message. This is some sort of hybrid island rock but it also surprisingly sounds like a hit single. Then, to one's surprise, about halfway thru the song it breaks into this most enjoyable machine gun chorus. bah-dah- bah- bah- badah- bah- bah. Put a smile right on my face. This is quite the catchy lil tune, with its changes and the occasional pure power chord. The vocals also eminate charm and connect with the target, adding up to one memorable party anthem. One thing: I think a better name for the song would be Be-O-Be-OK. The ending rocks too, what a great summer radio song this should be - it's irresistable.

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Happy is an infectious upbeat Rocker with a dominant 'Island' drum section adding an almost Reggae feel to the production. The hook is most definitely the "B O B O B OK" novelty chant which distinguishes this song from others similar. Confidence exudes from all sections especially the solid vocals. This track makes a mission out of being Happy and as such infects the listener with most positive vibes. There's a constancy of rhythm and an assurance of familiarity without falling into cliches. I'd recommend this one to lighten the heaviest load - a good singalong/dance along from these born to be happy 'cathouse dogs'

Diamonds

A powerful yet laid back intro sets the scene for a smooth Country Rock song. A very full production with activity a-plenty, especially notable are the strains of a piano creeping though a warm mass of drums and guitars. This band are most satisfying to listen to, the playing and singing performance is faultless and true to genre - it's hard not to feel you are in the company of music lovers, professionals and to a certain extent kindred spirits or friends, they enjoy what they do so you have to enjoy what they do for you. The rhythm sways, holds its hands aloft and claps appreciation for you as a listener. There is a story in the lyrics which is not immediately clear on first listen and after two listens it's still not obvious what the hook lyric on the chorus actually is ... but it really doesn't matter there is a strong hook in the melody anyway. I think the people who know the story and recognize it will understand and love it.

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The twang of the great American south transforms the mood within seconds of starting to listen to Diamonds by the Cathouse Dogs. The story seems to be about a Russian woman who ends up in bluegrass country and it looks like she's there to stay. Musically the Dogs have an intangible factor that takes their sound to another level, a looseness, a swing. Backing vocals along with a superb drummer named Randy James send the last half of this song to the stratosphere, it's just open air quality rock that has traces of various genres coming thru both ears. The lead vocals by Todd Sharman and the multi-guitars are top notch, overall production is excellent, and the sound is big, yet congruous. I first listened to this song in the middle of the night at the end of a very long day, and it made me feel like I was ready to turn the calendar and start fresh with the sunrise. One gets the feeling that when playing this music, the band is having an amazing time, and hey, there's no doubt whatsoever that the audience is.

Overground Underground

The Cat House Dogs fondly recall Tom Petty's
ticked-off early work

July 14, 2008 by kyrbyraine
Reviewed by Kit Burns
Cat House Dogs/That Was Now

The Cat House Dogs' second album That Was Now opens with a thick layer of jangling guitars, raspy vocals, and the most guttural roots-rock since the heyday of Jason & the Scorchers. While many of today's Americana acts play it twee and safe, the Cat House Dogs aren't afraid to get drunk and burn the barn down. Pass the whiskey, please.

If you fondly recall Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers in their ticked-off late '70s/early '80s period, before their midtempo numbers started creeping up the charts and followed by duets with Stevie Nicks, the Cat House Dogs are definitely bowling in your alley. The first track, "Fine Line," is what the Jayhawks would've sounded like if they woke up with a hangover and then discovered that their tour bus was stolen. It is Americana delivered raw with brass knuckles. "Do It" marries the downward grunge of Soundgarden with the raunchy blues of Reverend Horton Heat. "Beautiful Rays," "Far Away," and "Never in a Million Years" are cut with Petty's flannel but delivered without the watered-down studio gloss. Then, just when you think you have the Cat House Dogs pegged, they leave you with the reggae-inflected "Lost Again" just to mess you up. The uptight critics might pull their hair; that's just too bad, ain't it?

Twang Town

'Cat House Dogs'
'That Was Now'

Genre: 'Alt/Country' - Release Date: '2008'

Our Rating:

It's a known fact that Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers broke in the U.K. first. By the time they smashed the American charts, they already had a vast following of Britons worshipping at their altar, a bizarre combination of classic rockers and New Wavers. If America doesn't wake up soon, they might end being behind in catching the Cat House Dogs (http://www.cathousedogs.com).

Hailing from Ontario, Canada, the Cat House Dogs unite the best of classic and modern rock. They're as indebted to Petty's Byrdsy jangle ("Fine Line," "Never in a Million Years") as they are to the warm, boyish harmonies of the Jayhawks ("Beautiful Rays"). Even the punchy pub rock of Elvis Costello, Marshall Crenshaw, and Graham Parker is given a nod on "Melissa Tuesday." The guitars are crisply ringing throughout, and the solo on "Fine Line" is quite a flame thrower. Singer/guitarist Todd Sharman echoes Petty's Southern discomfort at times but when hits the choruses, or gets irked, he sounds as if he's riding off the rails, and those are the CD's most thrilling moments.

Canada continues to remain an underrated region for solid rock and roll (as opposed to the quirky indie stuff from Montreal). Hopefully, a group like the Cat House Dogs can finally gain Canada respect for kicking ass.

author: Adam Harrington

Whisperin & Hollering

Canada's the Cat House Dogs ironically embody best of Americana
Reviewed by Carson James

The Cat House Dogs bite as much as they bark. These Canadian alt-country rockers have more balls than a kennel of Wilco disciples. The band makes no secret of its yen for vintage Tom Petty. The opening track, "Fine Line," could've fit onto any of Petty's earliest LPs. Vocalist Todd Sharman has Petty's nasal whine but somehow makes it sound better. I especially like it when it seems like he is singing through gritted teeth. The Southern-fried folksy singalong of "Sadie's Theme" reveals another inspiration: the Black Crowes. But how then do you explain the skacore backbeat of "Crook" and the reggae pulse of "Lost Again"? Experiments, man. Even the Rolling Stones didn't just shuffle to the same grooves.

Ironically enough, it takes a Canadian group to deliver one of Americana's most commercially accessible releases. "Beautiful Rays" and "Far Away" are car-ready melodic pop/rock with a rootsy undertow; think of a less depressing Gin Blossoms. Perhaps what surprised me about "That Was Now" is how fast it moves. Like its blurry album cover, the record truly zips by. But not after entertaining the hell out of you first.


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