PO Box 214
Red Hill, Australia 4059
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
Every now and then a little gem of an album comes along that jumps out and grabs your attention, and the debut CD from Brisbane, Australia's Spot The Dog is one such album. The five members of Spot The Dog, Nadia Sunde, Cathy Bell, Richard Evans, Mark Cryle and Keith Megson, come together naturally to perform their own unique blend of roots music featuring mandolin, fiddle, accordion, drums, acoustic, electric and bass guitar surrounded by rich, mellow vocal harmonies.
Spot The Dog's debut album entitled Bedside Manners, includes eleven original eclectic tracks that draw upon the musical traditions of Celtic, country, bluegrass and rockabilly. This mix unquestionably makes for an album that grows on you the more that you listen to it. On Bedside Manners, there are no fillers among the ten original songs and the lively instrumental, (Elijah's Dance).
Lead vocals are capably handled by Nadia Sunde whose rich and earthy voice provides a focal point for the lyrics of bandmember Mark Cryle, who writes the majority of the material performed by Spot The Dog. Mark has that innate talent of being able to combine hook-laden songs with contemporary lyrics that are both soul-searching and universal. This can clearly be heard in a song of immigration, Caledonia, while feelings of ongoing failures in love can be heard in, Laundromat of Love and Better Things To Do. The strong theme of finding oneself again shines through in New Star in the Sky while One More Roll Of The Dice deals with the reviewing of ones lot in life, and the uncertainty of the road that lies ahead.
Overall, the eleven tracks on Spot The Dog's Bedside Manners can be labeled as being tight, comfortable, laid-back and not flashy or over-produced. Each musician is a master of the instruments they play in support of Nadia's singing, from the drumming of Keith, and the guitar playing of Richard, to the guitar and mandolin playing of Mark along with Cathy's fiddle and accordion, a combination that makes up the spirited and captivating sound of Spot The Dog.
Bedside Manners was voted one of the top ten CDs for 1996 by the Courier Mail, Brisbane's daily newspaper, and has been receiving regular rotation on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation national radio network.
Bedside Manners is definitely well worth the listen and I look forward to their follow- up release scheduled to hit the streets in mid 1998. File under: "very promising".
Edited by Jim Zimmerschied