Woof Woof

Away from everything

I requested a tape by this group Woof Woof who were giving them away free. The tape came yesterday and it is one of the best "demo" tapes I've heard in a long time. The name of the album is Away From Everything. It is a professionally done job---not only in the slick cover and printing on the casettte, but also in the music production and the performance!

Woof Woof have a strong reggae-funk sound which is evident in all the songs, but every so often they depart from it bringing together sounds that are a mixture of punk rock, thrash metal, and jazz. The first song, Puppy Luv, has a definite reggae-ish feel to it. The second song, Jaegermonster, moves into the funk/hard rock realm. The third song One Fine Day, comes back to the reggae sound and has some excellent saxaphone (Perry McNeil) work on it. Rap You in the Head is their catchiest tune (and my favourite), IMO. It's dance-rock. I should mention at this point that every song of theirs is highly danceable and Rap You definitely is the leader of the pack. Away From Everything is rock with cool basswork on it (esp. during the chorus when the lyrics go "who's gonna shine like a star"). The one song I don't like (and I think is uncharacteristic with the rest of their stuff) is the slow song The Passage, but I think that still represents Woof Woof's versatility.

Throughout the album, the vocals (Frank Carbone) are really sophisticated and at the same time laid-back. Drummer Joe Swain (delivers some punchy drumming), bassist Kevin Toye (who doles out some pretty intricate and funky bass-lines) and guitarist Tony Contos form an extremely tight rhythm section. Contos not only does a fine job managing the rhythm guitar, but also throws out solos that shred.

If you like Psychefunkapus, the bay area thrash-funk group, you'll most likely like these guys. The similarity isn't that great, but like 'funkapus experimented with various styles in their self-titled album, so do WOOF WOOF. In fact, each song has its own distinct hallmark sound. This is their greatest asset because they don't end up boring the people listening to the tape. But in terms of a corporate record company's point of few, I think this is a liability because they look for focused sounds from what I've heard (and I don't understand why, especially in a case like this tape where the sounds are all very amenable to any fan of music). But who cares about corporate record companies, right? I'm surprised though these guys aren't signed---mark my words, a bit of marketing and these guys will be the next biggest thing to hit this side of the planet.

Given that they're good on tape, one can only imagine how great their live show must be. The question is, whose dog is it it on the cover?

Blue Daisy

This album shows the maturation (and that's written in the most positive way possible) of Woof Woof, whose first release I loved immensely and wore the tape out by playing it too much! Most prominent in terms of experimentation is Kevin Toye's bass work and Joe Swain's drumming, which seems to have become highly funk influenced. In fact, the music appears to have gone from a reggae-based sound to a more funky/jazzy kind of sound. This has resulted in slower-moving but more complex songs. The band has also taken a more aggressive approach to sound, and this is particularly noticeable in Blue Daisy and Jackson Heights. It's really hard to gauge the statistical significance of these improvements given that there are only three songs on this release, but if this is any indication, it shows that Woof Woof are constantly evolving.

Music ram-blings || Ram Samudrala || me@ram.org