Mr. Boy Dog

Cerberus Shoal

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Mr. Boy Dog Review

by Matt Fink

A double CD that seems to hold the promise of the post-rock masterpiece these guys have apparently had looming in the background of their seminal career, Mr. Boy Dog falls a little short of such lofty expectations. Even so, it probably is their most eclectic release yet, pairing a cacophony of flutes and horns with hand drums, accordions, and electric guitars in the creation of something approximating tribal avant-garde experimental rock. With the members who also formerly moonlighted with Maine's other post-rock collective, Tarpigh, having since left the Cerberus Shoal lineup, these tracks mark the culmination of the first phase of their career. As such, the album seems a little disjointed at times, as if pulled together from a collection of embryonic recordings. Of course, that isn't to say that the tracks suffer from a lack of complexity, as the hazy psychedelic epic in "Unmarked Boxes" and the extensive magnum opus "An Egypt That Does Not Exist" unfold amid shifting rhythms and changing textures. At other times, Beefheart-ish noise jazz sits beside jaunty faux Eastern European gypsy tunes, creating a fairly convincing stylistic grab-bag. For many, these 12 tracks would stand as a career-defining moment. For Cerberus Shoal, they are just another adventurous release in a career that has produced nothing but.

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