Cutting out unnecessary members, Halifax duo Seth Smith and Nancy Urich are Dog Day, a lo-fi rock & roll chillout band with teeth. They’re running some of the oldest tricks in punk through one stereo speaker, in an effect that somehow revitalizes the aging sound. With songs about playing in bands, jamming and hanging out, Deformer is a record existing for itself, in itself.
A description like this may lead you to envision two-dimensional punk/wave/whatever sock puppets, but this minimal approach is somehow more powerful than what usually comes from such a two-piece premise. Maybe it’s that the band confidently calls influence from artists older than Sonic Youth, or that they avoid weighing down their songs with indiscriminate reverb. It’s melancholy laying bare, bad singing and slightly out of tune, a simple driving rhythm. It’s slightly defeatist music, the kind that doesn’t care about itself, let alone anyone else.
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“Scratches,” the sway-and-sing-along title of their spring 7” makes an appearance as one of the more upbeat tracks, but an elevated tempo doesn’t mean a lighter mood on this record. It’s a steady trip the whole way through, never getting lost in its own ambition. They keep it simple, just pounding out the beat, whether in the garage or onstage.