‘Tarred and Feathered’ finds Dogs frontman Johnny Cooke in a reflective mood. Wandering home alongside nothing but a trundling bassline, he sings sorry-for-himself and comes over the lonely boy on the morning after the weekend before. For all their usual swagger and pomp, this is a familiar pattern for Dogs. Set a miserable scene, and then dismiss it with a kind of gliding defiance. Here, the defiance comes from a proud, marching snare and a hench sing-a-long chorus. It occupies that same area between overblown and under-rehearsed that something like ‘Fuck Forever’ does, ‘cept it leaves you with an even greater feeling that something intangible is fundamentally lacking.
Indeed, this seems an odd choice for a single, as the debut album is packed with tunes to render this ashen-faced. Stumbling around like a sweaty, hungover Feeder, this is the window of sobriety amidst ‘Turn Against This Land’s starry-eyed mischief. In fairness, they have probably been around long enough to have used up the rest of the album, and they should probably be hoping this makes some sort of chart impact so that they can crack on with the money spinning re-releases. A situation which, in a way, they would’ve earned; their touring schedule being as full as any these last few years.
With support slots with Weller on the horizon, the band should hope they don’t go the same way as The Ordinary Boys; who slipped down the side of the mod-revival sofa and are still struggling to pull themselves back out and into the pages of destination NME. While this’ll do fine for frosty November mornings, you still get the distinct impression that if Dogs’ day doesn’t come soon, all of their hard work may be in vain.