Dog Is Dead - All Our Favourite Stories
Expectations are a funny thing. Our most recent memory of Dog Is Dead is the wonderfully jaunty, sax solo-fuelled 'Glockenspiel Song', so imagine our surprise when their debut album kicks off with the solemn 'Get Low'. Coming across as second album Noah And The Whale on downers, it's a low-key, mournful - yet lovely - opener and immediately gone are our expectations that the Nottingham five-piece peddle the same notes as the likes of Two Door Cinema Club. Here instead are a band that stand on their own in a crowded UK indie marketplace and on the evidence of All Our Favourite Stories, do it quite brilliantly.
What's perhaps most remarkable is that the album impresses throughout: whereas some debuts might suffer from clustering their strong singles in the centre, efforts either side of this flawless middle act fight successfully for your attention. 'Do The Right Thing' should be applauded for putting a bass hook front-and-centre, backing it up with an infectiously joyous chorus, while 'Heal It' slowly builds on a combination of fast-paced guitars and laidback pianos before positively soaring into the stratosphere with its climactic bars. Not that the recognisable tracks wilt in the face of these bright-faced efforts - 'Two Devils', in particular, still swoons with its perfect chorus, all choral backing and impassioned vocal.
We haven't even started on how gorgeous it all sounds. Slickly produced by Guy Elderfield and David Kosten, the album takes full advantage of the five-piece's penchant for a harmonised backing vocal, be it for crowdpleasing buoyancy or dramatic heft. It all means that as debuts go, All Our Favourite Stories sounds about as accomplished as they come with Dog Is Dead providing the tracks to back up the silky smooth production. We're already tucked up in our beds waiting for them to tell us some more of their gripping musical tales.