Bird DogThe Verlaines
Released in 1987, Bird Dog is the Verlaines' second full album and features the original line up of Graeme Downes (vocals/guitar), Jane Dodd (bass) and Robbie Yeats (drums).
Simplicity of sound is a characteristic trait of Verlaines' recordings. guitars jangle independent of processing effects and every instrument is treated with an almost equal weighting. This allows the musicality of songwriter Downes to shine through. The band's dynamism is conveyed through shifting tempos, key changes and, in the case of Bird Dog, the ushering in and out of a considerable range of instruments throughout the album.
If you skip to the middle of Bird Dog (or delicately place the needle on that crackling line) you will find the masterpiece Slow Sad Love Song. From its bleak and choked beginning to the storming cadenza, it is regarded by some as emblematic of the Dunedin sound. Having said this, Bird Dog artfully (and unapologetically) roams through musical forms and in doing so pushes the very boundaries of that concept the Dunedin sound. From the Gregorian-like chants of Icarus Missed to the jazz tender tones of Only Dream Left this album is rich in ideas and a unique accomplishment.
- Sean O'Brien, 2013