Best Dog Award: We Can Be Happy

best dog award 01by Mark Anderson
Senior Editor

Those fuzzy, lovable Tucson surf(ish) rockers known as Best Dog Award are back with their new album, We Can Be Happy, recorded by Matt Rendon at his Midtown Island Studio.

But, as often with the good news, comes the bad – the band isn’t actually “active” at the moment and We Can Be Happy was recorded over a year and a half ago!

It’s still worth a listen though. Or, if you’re anything like me, multiple listens, over and over again. There’s just something about these songs that I can’t get enough of.

“Jox Vagular” sets the perfect tone for the album. Janky guitar is soon coupled with that sweet organ and the drums and vocals roll in to create a truly stunning number. You gotta hand it to Joel Crocco (vocals/guitar), Nick Mazza (guitars/keys) and Andrew Ling (drums): the trio know how to write a good song.

The tongue-in-cheek lyrics of “Historical Sleeze” are matched by the raw ferocity of “Never Been A Boy”, while the laid back air of “Buenas Suerte” preludes the almost too-cool-for-school feel of “Tender Tease”. Is it just me or are you also reminded of The Police with that last number?

While Best Dog Award may be on extended hiatus, Mr. Crocco is certainly keeping busy. Not only does he play guitar in The Gay Boys (whom I certainly recommend checking out), he writes and performs material as Dreadcat & The Transitional Wave “featuring a rotating cast from all the members of the Gay Boys, to having members of Pro Teens, to just myself”, he told me through Messenger.

Featuring siren-like backups, “Bee Palette” sends the mind surfing through desert froth while “Secular Jam” finds yourself floating in the vast sand sea. “Crybaby” features that stellar organ in arpeggiated fashion reminding me of ? and the Mysterians’ “96 Tears”. The track contains my favorite line on the entire album: “So this is a song a demon wrote about me/she dug my soul but didn’t want my body/which is why you’ve got to write everything down/like you used to.”

“Flirt To Convert” ramps the energy way up in the best possible way at this point in the album and features a killer hook while “Something’s Got To Give” seems to be the perfect swan song for the band: slow yet commanding, featuring a solo brass horn lamenting at it’s own final declaration.

As if the band knew they couldn’t go out like that, the hidden track “Be Your Own Boss” is a last testament to the Best Dog Award sound, the “bop, bop, bop” back-ups certainly a nice touch.

Although they technically may be inactive right now, I still highly recommended checking out We Can Be Happy by Best Dog Award post haste!

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Follow Best Dog Award on Facebook just in case they end their hiatus.

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