Hailing from Orange County, The Bash Dogs are a power trio consisting of half Korean brothers Nate (guitar and lead vocals) and Jeremy Barrett (drums), and groove master Nathan Schmok (bass and backup vocals). In an age where any new music that is not derivative of something that was once great for its own time is pretty much guaranteed to be garbage, I was sure I’d be relegated to a life of contempt and cynicism.
But hearing “Captain Harly”, the band’s new single and video, for the first time was nothing short of a reawakening event for me. To hear a track which shines with the finest attributes of classic rock sound without regurgitating them, yet with its own distinct sonic identity and a coherence throughout is an experience I’m not likely to have any time soon.
This is sheer brilliance in songwriting, execution, and production. Though the quality here should stand beyond comparison, to overlook the Jim Morrison style of Nate’s vocal delivery would be admittedly ignoring the elephant in the room. On that note, The Bash Dogs could somewhat be likened to an alternate-history revisioning of the Doors, but certainly not limited to them, and that’s only part of the story.
From the touching lyrics to the perfect combo of melodic hypo-groove psychedelia, “Captain Harly” sounds vaguely familiar while also feeling entirely new. It could so easily be a lost track from 1971- it rocks, it’s trippy, it’s haunting, and it stays with you.
And if you’re sick of American indie bands that don’t let their drummers do anything other than keep 4/4 time, The Bash Dogs kick out the jam without embarrassment in mid song. “Captain Harly” may instantly remind its listeners of an era driven by British psychedelics, but in the midst of the arrangement you will notice strong Cali surf rock tones.
Fortunately the songs layers extend deeper than these immediate impressions, so deep that after having listened to it for a few times you will find yourself discovering little nuances. That’s the payoff with a track like this.
The overall sound is peppered with familiar stylistics: fat snare pulses, echoed vocals, crunchy lo-fi guitar and smooth baselines, all with stunning precision. While taking sonic cues from the past, The Bash Dogs take psychedelic and classic rock music to a new place.
“Captain Harly” is a fluid, drift-through-the-clouds, trippy psychedelic rock gem with an engulfing sense of melody that will sweep you to a fantasy land where every dust nugget is a glittering golden angel – naked, smiling, and beckoning.
The video pretty much mimics the song in quality and theme choices. This too looks like it came out of psychedelic’s golden era, with scratchy video frames and washed-out color filtering. Having a wide spectrum of creativity and talent, The Bash Dogs, on both their single and video, sends you through mind-altering and expanding waves of music and visuals in less than five minutes.