Originally posted on May 24, 2006:
The Format is finally coming out with a new full length (Dog Problems, July 11)! It has been forever since they released Interventions & Lullabies... that was three years ago, a pretty damn long time... I don’t even remember what that record sounds like, oh well. In a way, The Format’s new album, Dog Problems is full of cheesy pop songs... let me rephrase, Dog Problems is full of cleverly written and wonderfully produced pop songs. For some strange reasons, the opening track "Matches", reminds me of "A Day In The Life" by The Beatles, especially at the 1:36 mark of the song. The next track, "I'm Actual", sounds like an epic... It begins with a cappella of the lines "can we take the next hour and talk about me? talk about me, oh we'll talk about me, talk about me, and we'll only talk about me" and it slowly builds up to a loud and dramatic closing by strings, drums, and the xylophone. The prelude is concluded as "Time Bomb" enters. It features a very catchy chorus of "tick tock, you're not a clock, you're a timebomb baby, a timebomb oh no…" The title track, "Dog Problems", echoes Tin Pan Alley musical styles. The track is highlighted by up tempo piano and brass accompaniments. The ending lines of "B is for believing you'd always be here for me. E is for everything, even when we'd see it though. C, C is for seeing through you, you are a fake, which brings me to A because, because, you always run away" further demonstrates The Format’s witty lyrical styles. The rest of Dog Problems contains endless 60s pop rock qualities as well as musical elements from bands such as Ben Folds Five and Something Corporate. The album ends with "If Work Permits". The quiet acoustic folk-ish beginning is contrasted by the loud, full rock and roll ending; "If Work Permits" is definitely the perfect song to end the album. Dog Problems is The Format’s masterpiece; it showcases their diversity as the album is full of different musical ideas. They were very successful in embracing multiple sounds as the focus is never lost, each song flows smoothly in an extremely well constructed and packaged record. That is perhaps one of the toughest things to accomplish as so many bands who tried to incorporate numerous musical elements failed miserably: the results often sound forced and musical ideas become shattered. One of my favorite parts of Dog Problems is that it features beautifully arrangements of countless instruments, especially in the brass and strings departments. After hearing Dog Problems, I don’t know if I ever want The Format to release another record as anything they come out with in the future can only go downhill... or perhaps not?
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Dog Problems comes out on July 11, you can preorder it here