Beggars Opera

Get Your Dog off Me!

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Get Your Dog off Me, the final real studio album of Scots prog band Beggars Opera, was a disappointment when it came out -- and it remains one decades later. Indeed, they never captured the spirit of Act One in any of their further releases, and it's easy to see why they called this the end of the road (although guitarist Ricky Gardiner and mellotronist Virginia Scott kept the band name going with two German albums later in the decade). The dramatics, which had been quite sly before, descend into melodrama here, and there's a dearth of songwriting ideas (which was also true on the previous record, where the standout was a cover of "MacArthur Park"). They can still slip in a good hook here and there, and there's no fault in the playing, with Gardiner in particular showing himself to be an excellent, thoughtful soloist. But on the evidence of the material and arrangements here, this was a band past its sell-by date. The newer harmony style -- influenced by bands like the Eagles, is quite at odds with any kind of grandeur. This is really one just for the die-hard fans and obsessives.

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