Album Review

Police Dog Hogan – Overground: Album Review

Hoganistas rejoice! The fifth album of driving and subtle Country Rock from Police Dog Hogan.

police dog hogan

Release Date: 14th January 2022

Label: Major Tom Records

Format: digital / CD

An album that could easily earn the title ‘Seven Go Daft In Lockdown‘, Overground is the outcome of the cessation of touring opportunities; the result of the chance to find solace in writing and recording.

Recorded between 2019 and 2020, Christmas single (My First Christmas Alone) that raised £50k for Crisis notwithstanding, it seems a lifetime ago as we continue to adjust to our new world and the new songs finally see the light of day.

The new songs find inspiration in some expected and more unusual sources. The themes pick up on the typically topical ones of hope, loneliness, unease, romance and finding love, as well as a therapeutic outpouring resulting from being regularly haunted by a demented crow. The inspiration for songwriting holds no bounds. Even the aforementioned crow attacking its own reflection and tormenting James Studholme during one lockdown Spring gets a strong feature. The latter is a brooding and low-key PDH piece with an aching fiddle line that teeters expectedly at the edge of a musical take-off that never comes. For that, simply flick back to the opening cut, Hold On. Hold on to love indeed, it’s a joyous outpouring with a rattling railroad Mumford rhythm and vitality with some rapid-fire rhyming triplets and brassy coating. As an opening gambit, it’s an odds-on cert, full of vibrancy and life. The video too will keep you guessing…

Hang on in there and very soon you’ll be “Rolling down the runway,” swinging your pants, partaking of a good time country swagger, and taking the chance to admire the range of rhyming couplets that combine on the eponymous Barcelona. By the time we get to Disappear, we’ve hit full-blown, banjo-fuelled stomping mode, where a hefty bass depth charge booms at the bottom end of a dark tale.

Now that’s not to say that there’s an absence of sensitivity or subtlety. Mid album, we slip seamlessly into a change of mood. The lovely intimacy of Need Your Love plays like it sounds – briefly, building to a bold swell – and Funfair On Shepherd’s Bush Green is an achingly romantic interlude. Swinging on the warmth of the reminiscence of a romantic encounter, it possibly recalls the title 2017 album – Wild By The Side Of The Road – or possibly not. It might be me… There’s a late-night feel as the album rolls to a close; James Studholme full of gravel-voiced Knopfler-esque world-weariness, his musical crew providing the accompanying pathos as he asks “is there room in that bottle for me?”

The result might have you in need of a vital shot of adrenaline and uplift, so (in the style of any good TV advert and in a clever trick of song sequencing) why not simply flick the CD scanner back to the start and marvel (and maybe even get a groove going) on the brassy opening and at the E Street Band-ish piano and organ contributions of Tim Dowling and Shahen Galichian on Westward Ho!

At the close of play, Overground gives plenty to think about. Plenty to enjoy. Plenty to dance to and plenty to tug at the emotions. Aside for the certainty that Hold On will have you doing that, the other certainty is that Overground is never anything less than a joy.

Here’s the video for the third single from the album, Here Comes Crow:

Several of the band (James Studholme taking pole position) are set to join us on our Why I Love pages which you can read here

Police Dog Hogan online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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