The Dog Indiana Burnt Ends (art by Santiago Garcia)
Canadian trio The Dog Indiana bill themselves as “not your grandma’s psychedelic grunge rock,” and indeed their newest album Burnt Ends features sounds that feel pulled out of the ground rather than from any trippy ether. The band has built off their work over the past six years and their previous album, Fractured, Murky and Liquid (2018) and EP, Never (2020), to bring out a record of doomy, jagged noise rock.
Most of the tracks on the album are energetic and aggressive, featuring relentless guitar and bass from Clark Ridge and Thomas Service. Santiago Garcia’s drums tones range from clattering to guttural, while the vocals (also from Ridge and Service) often sound as if they were recorded in a metal garbage can, which works really well.
The Dog Indiana (photo by Annie Thatcher)
The first three tracks—“Elixir,” “Hydroxydramaqueen” and “Golden Pavilion”—all flow into each other in a clamorous riot. The commotion takes a break during most of “Black Mollies,” with quieter guitar plucking and singing rather than screaming, before a tempo switch brings us back up to speed. I’m unsure if the lyrics are a metaphor or actually about fish (“see you through the glass / slack jawed, but elegant / swear you’re looking back”).
That track and “Matchsticks” are truly where they touch on the “psych” part of their self-description, while “The Hanged Man” gets really doomy. There is enough variation in the songs to keep the nine track album from sounding all the same. The highlight of the album for me is “Loaf,” which has an excellent guitar riff propelling it along, although I wish the rumbling coda at the end were taken to a further conclusion.
The overall effect of the record is dark and gloomy, but with enough of a punch to keep its head above the sludge. The band calls Burnt Ends “an exploration of the feelings of helplessness and isolation that shook so much of the world in the last few years” and it is a pretty intense listen, but a rewarding one.
Burnt Ends is out now via Early Onset Records and available via Bandcamp and all major streamers. Follow the band on Instagram.