A hooky rock-forward ferocity stirs throughout SWAN DIVE PITY PARTY, the debut album from DOGDAD. From the emotive hardcore immediacy of “Hospice” to the eclectic pop-touched confessional finale, SWAN DIVE PITY PARTY struts a consistently enthralling rock vigor.

The enveloping “Hands On A Hardbody” kicks off the album with spirited appeal. Debonair vocals and a bass-y pulse build with climactic pull, with the “knocking at your door,” momentum gearing into a delectably raucous vocal rise; here, in the final 30 seconds, they assume a punk-forward ardency alongside blistering guitars. “Hands On A Hardbody” is an apt opener, showcasing DOGDAD’s versatile strengths — from post-punky contemplation in the verses to an eruption of impassioned punk and hardcore.

“Dewar’s Good Time” follows with a more immediate energy, unveiling a shout-y rock appeal that builds into the replay-inducing “on a roll,” hook — reminiscent aesthetically of Gerard Way’s solo album Hesitant Alien. In a similar vein, “Hospice” also captivates, projecting a surf-y bass-forward momentum in the verses, culminating in a stellar chorus with multi-layered vocal immersion. The jumpier, sporadic guitar spurts on “The Orchard” continues the stream of successes; its crawling, thickly reverberating guitars drive into a warming distortion at mid-point for an especially inviting impact.

The album’s concluding title track boasts an especially dynamic direction. The vocals’ initially contemplative tone and trickling guitars traverse into an ominous dark-rock engrossment at the two-minute turn, then evolving into the release’s most pop-minded turn in its “I’ve been burning through this town,” confessional. SWAN DIVE PITY PARTY is a standout album, full of quality songwriting and passionate vocal pushes.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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